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Friday, 9 January 2009

Better access to patients’ details for out-of-hours GPs is just what the doctor ordered

The news that GPs who provide out-of-hours cover, will soon be able to access patients’ records electronically, is very much a move in the right direction. It makes perfect sense really that doctors’ should have this kind of information at their finger-tips, in order to be able to provide the most accurate decision when diagnosing and treating individuals.

It is perhaps just a shame this hasn’t happened before now, as not having basic, yet fundamental information on people’s medical histories can have major consequences on patient care. It should also have a positive knock-on effect for NHS services, meaning patients can be treated and discharged sooner, easing the pressure on our stretched A&E departments.

It’s worth pointing out too that these developments are possible through the work of colleagues in Informing Health Care. They've worked with our members and others to make sure such systems are developed with best patient care in mind, whilst ensuring that patient confidentiality and consent over access to their information is scrupulously maintained. Such assurances are something we all surely want when accessing healthcare.

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