GP Record Sharing – What Does This Mean For Out Of Hours?
GP record sharing is an essential component of providing appropriate healthcare for patients. It means that GPs and other care providers can make informed decisions about which care options to recommend for patients and avoid potentially life threatening mistakes due to a lack of information.
With modern technology, it is easier than ever to share patients’ medical records and patients now have access to their own GP records through the Share Your Record service. This is particularly important for those offering GP out of hours appointments as it means they can access patients’ records in a way that was previously often not possible.
In this article, we will look at who has access to GP record sharing, how the Share Your Record service works, patients’ rights over their medical records and what this all means for patients and out of hours GPs.
Who has access to GP record sharing?
Patients’ medical records can be shared within the NHS and with social care services to allow for consistent safe care to be provided. However, patients have the ability to opt out of having their records shared if they choose.
When a patient opts out of GP record sharing, it means their medical records will not be shared outside of their GP practice. This can make it harder for anyone outside of the patients’ GP practice to offer safe, appropriate care.
The Share Your Record Service
The Share Your Record service allows patients to quickly and easily share their medical records via a secure, time-limited website link or QR code. This means patients can make key details of their medical records, such as any existing conditions, allergies, medication they are on and test results available to doctors and other care providers as and when needed.
This system has only been available since March 2016, meaning many patients are not yet aware of it. Education for GPs is important to help patients understand the benefits of the system and how to use it appropriately.
What GP record sharing means for patients
Making sure doctors and other care providers have ready access to their GP records means patients can get better and more consistent care. It also reduces the risks of being prescribed medication they are allergic to or given other medical advice which may be at odds with their medical history. This means patients can have more confidence that they are being treated appropriately and safely by care providers of all types.
How record sharing impacts out of hours GPs
One of the biggest issues out of hours GPs face is that they often have to see patients and give them advice about their care options, diagnoses and prescriptions without access to the patients’ medical records. This makes it harder for GPs to offer patients the best possible care and significantly increases the risk of misdiagnosis or providing inappropriate prescriptions.
This means out of hours GPs are often not able to provide the very best service for patients and can open themselves up to a variety of risks, including accusations of medical negligence. Being able to access patients’ GP records, for example through the Share Your Record scheme, therefore means out of hours GPs can do their jobs better and protect themselves.
Find GP out of hours work with EBPC
East Berkshire Primary Care (EBPC) Out of Hours Service is a non-profit social enterprise supplying NHS services, including urgent out-of-hours GP appointments, for East Berkshire Clinical Commissioning Group. Our service operates across Bracknell Forest, Slough, Windsor, Ascot and Maidenhead.
At EBPC, we aim to provide high-quality, flexible care for patients who need to see a GP outside of core surgery hours, making essential healthcare more accessible. We also provide flexible out of hours work for GPs in a supportive environment designed to protect both their and the patients’ interests.
Our service offers many key advantages for both patients and doctors. It allows patients to see a GP at a time that suits them, meaning they don’t have to take time out of work to see a doctor or keep putting off making an appointment due to the inconvenience. It also allows GPs to fit their work flexible around other commitments, such as child care, so they can achieve a better work-life balance.
We are extremely proud of the service we provide at EBPC Out of Hours Service – a recent survey of our GPs showed that 95% felt they were well supported by EBPC Management and the same percentage agreed they can provide the level of clinical care they would wish to work with us.
Effective GP record sharing helps us to provide an even safer, more effective level of care during out of hours GP appointments while also protecting GPs by helping them to have the information they need to give patients the most accurate advice possible.