Medical records and their security, or lack of, was the main topic likely to pique NHS managers’ interest in the news this week - if, that is, you discount stories about the “miracle jab for snorers” and the “mindbend potheads” who are apparently flooding the NHS.
There are essentially three threads to this. First, The Guardian reported that a coroner had written to the health secretary asking for changes to Emis, the primary care data records system.
Trust chief executive Glenn Douglas has signed an agreement promising to improve security, although the paper does not say who he signed it with - colleagues, friends, a passing cat?
It follows a case in which a healthcare worker at Holloway prison falsely recorded - retrospectively - that she had given an antipsychotic drug to a schizophrenia patient who committed suicide.
City of London coroner Paul Matthews has written to Andy Burnham about concerns arising from the case that NHS staff can retrospectively add notes to Emis.
“It should not be possible to make an entry in the Emis system which tells a lie about itself,” he said. “The implications of being able to make false entries are potentially enormous.”
Given that Emis has been around for nearly 20 years in various forms, you would have thought someone might have noticed this before. Anyway, it’s news to The Guardian.
Second, The People honed in on managers at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells. It reported that three laptops containing patient records had been stolen from Maidstone Hospital in a month.
Apparently, trust chief executive Glenn Douglas has signed an agreement promising to improve security, although the paper does not say who he signed it with - colleagues, friends, a passing cat?
And now for some good news. The Observer, the Metro freesheet and BBC online wrote up the Department of Health’s press release announcing that summary care records would be uploaded for patients in London from today.
After a delay of four years health minister Mike O’Brien was able to tell the world that it would all be starting at the Princess Street Group Practice in Southwark.
One hopes that now it is finally here, the roll-out of the summary care record does not turn wintry too soon.