The NHS Business Services Authority is launching a scanning service for GP practices to digitise old patient records.
The service, which comes at a cost to practices which NHSBSA would not disclose, uploads patients’ Lloyd George envelopes to the practice’s IT system.
According to NHSBSA, over a third (35%) of practices making use of the service in a pilot scheme expect to open a new consultation room with the space that has been freed up.
NHSBSA said it has capacity to scan over 20,000 prescriptions in an hour and can scan one practices’ entire archive of Lloyd George envelopes in a week.
GP practices will be expected to digitise patient records as part of a Government strategy for the NHS to go ‘paperless’ by 2020.
GP leaders questioned whether NHSBSA, which is fully-owned by the Government, should be charging practices for a service that enables practices to adhere to its strategy.
BMA GP committee contract and regulation lead Dr Robert Morley said: ‘On the face of it there does appear to be an element of conflict of interest.’
But NHSBSA director of primary care services Martin Kelsall told our sister publication Pulse that the service was not for profit.
He said: ‘This is about an archive paper storage that’s infrequently used. It’s an estates issue.
‘We’re making access simpler but the benefits for the practice is freeing up the space and reducing the administrative burden of accessing and moving paper records around.’
The scanning service was piloted over the last year in NHS Newcastle and Gateshead CCG, with 34 practices participating.
This story was first published on our sister publication Pulse.