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It has been a very busy year as IT policy lead for GPC; primary care is undergoing the biggest digital transformation agenda we have seen. I have been working with colleagues on the policy group and our JGPITC (joint GPC-RCGP IT committee) to influence the national agenda on future IT to ensure these new developments are suitable for practices and enhance patient care.
The Long Term Plan published at the start of the year envisioned digitally-enabled care going mainstream across the NHS to help patients manage their health better. At the same time, it recognised the necessity of healthcare professionals having appropriate digital tools, support and IT infrastructure to efficiently deliver safe and effective care – something that the GP profession has long argued for.
These commitments were translated into the five-year framework for the GP contract in England earlier this year. The framework commits to the resourcing of IT infrastructure, including through the GP IT operating model and GP IT futures programme. It also sets out specific improvements around access to medical records, online appointments, and online/video consultations. In order to assist you and your practice to implement these changes, please have a look at the prospective access to records online and online consultations resources which have recently been published.
This year we also saw the roll-out of the first national app from the NHS for patients in England. The Long Term Plan envisioned this app becoming a ‘digital front door’ for patients to access care. Now patients at 95% of GP surgeries in England can use the functionalities of the NHS app which include symptom checking, appointment booking and access to medical records. The GPC IT policy group and JGPITC will be aiming to influence, sense check and advise on new tools such as these so they can help ease, rather than add to, the pressures practices are facing.
As we come to the end of 2019, we are seeing the roll-out of the final phase of the electronic prescription service which will make electronic prescriptions rather than paper prescriptions become the default. This was agreed in negotiations and GPC have had regular updates from the EPS team, including resolutions to any issues during the piloting stage, to ensure the service is ready for roll-out. To prepare your practice for the roll-out please read our guidance.
Next year we will continue to work with NHS Digital and NHSX in key areas such as the digitisation of Lloyd George records, full implementation of ‘GP2GP’ functionality, and delivery of local health and care records, to ensure your voice is heard.
Anu Rao is the BMA general practitioners committee IT policy lead and co-chair of the joint GPC RCGP IT committee
Why do so many patients say they are being supplied with items that they did not request? I fear there is an issue of substantial waste here, to say nothing of enhanced safety risks. Will the BMA be addressing this?
Many of my friends are Pharmacists, from their point of view (and they work for multiple companies) is that the EPS is something that has such a high failure rate it should not be being promoted. The BMA should have been talking to our colleagues about the extra cost and strife with patients it is causing. At the very least they should go and stand in some pharmacies and watch over a period of time ( I have ).
Community Pharmacies are independent businesses that have been deliberately put under financial and time pressures in the hope of forcing closures without providing compensation. You will find they will be pushing back, eg refusing to do blister packs or MARS sheets without being paid by the patient or representative etc etc.
Before I retired I repeatedly over many years tried to bring to general attention the failures of the NHS IT and why they happened in the hope that the covering up of problems would be prevented. In the words of the song, they were not listening, they are not listening now.
And when are dispensing practices going to be brought online? Nowhere can I find any reference for dispensing doctors.
Dispensing practices are not mentioned at all in any of this guidance. Could it be that this is another project driven entirely from London and that the needs of rural dispensing practices are being ignored? Why on earth would I join a scheme that excludes my patients from nominating my own business? Maybe they just haven't worked out how to impose the manifestly unjust restriction of fair trade that is the 1-mile rule : how would Boots and Lloyds cope with the competition of a small independent business that wasn't also peddling cough medicine and aromatherapy?
Yes indeed, no mention at all about dispensing doctors and the 8.8 million dispensing patients they cover despite the GPC being tasked following the National Conference in May 2015 to ensure that there was a level playing field in terms of access, funding and training for EPS2 between pharmacies and dispensing doctor practices....and here we are with EPS4 with, if anything, a pitch sloping further away from dispensing doctors.
Digital transformation is the integration of digital technology into all areas of a business, fundamentally changing how you operate and deliver value to customers. ... What's not clear to many business leaders is what digital transformation means.
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