This site is intended for health professionals only

Practices must sign liability agreement to keep EMIS panic button

by Eliza Parr
21 June 2023

Share this article

To keep the EMIS ‘panic button’, GP practices must put in a request and sign an agreement accepting its ‘limitations’.

EMIS has confirmed that GP practices must complete request forms by 15 September this year to avoid their panic button being removed at the end of the month.

Earlier this year, the supplier said it had been made aware that certain local network configurations ‘prevent the panic button functionality from operating as designed’. Following an internal investigation and ‘in-depth technology review,’ EMIS said the feature would be removed from all customers.

However, last month EMIS said the feature would remain available for those who wish to keep it after GPs raised concerns amid increasing levels of abuse. 

The button is currently displayed in the top right-hand corner of every EMIS Web screen and staff can use it to send an alert to all other logged-on PCs, which can be useful in situations where a staff member is experiencing verbal or physical abuse from a patient.

The removal was originally planned for June, but now EMIS has confirmed that ‘in agreement with NHS England’, the intention is to remove the panic button on 29 September. 

EMIS said: ‘Organisations can request that the Panic button remains available for their organisation beyond Friday 29th September 2023. 

‘As part of this request, organisations will be required to acknowledge and accept responsibility for the known risks and limitations associated with the functionality.’

In March, a spokesperson for the company had said, ‘the underlying third-party technology that supports the solution is no longer reliable’, which meant they could not guarantee its functionality. 

At the time, practices said they feared that removing the button could jeopardise safety, with one GP saying it came at a time when patient aggression is the highest she had ever seen. 

Last year, a BMA survey found nearly a third of GP practice staff had been physically abused at work.

To apply to keep the panic button, GP practices must fill in a form which is available online now.

A version of this story was first published on our sister publication Pulse.