Some GP practices have been left with ‘extraordinarily high numbers of documents to check’ following errors with the Docman system.
In some cases, practices were having to manually check ‘in excess of a thousand’ documents following the IT glitch, which was reported in August and caused documents received by practices through NHSmail to be left out from patient records.
Docman refused to tell our sister publication Pulse numbers, but the system is used by approximately 6,000 GP practices. The IT system automatically processes letters received by practices and adds them to the patient records.
However, an error with version 7 of the software led to documents not being automatically uploaded to the electronic patient records, in practices where the transfer function was enabled.
Local GP leaders are now warning that the fallout is causing ‘extraordinary’ workload for practices, and have identified the issue as a ‘risk’ to patients.
Suffolk LMC said in a bulletin to GPs: ‘Some practices have reported extraordinarily high numbers of documents to check. NHS England has recently sent out letters pressing for the reviews to be completed.’
NHS Barnet CCG’s risk register, contained in board papers filed last week, said: ‘It was noted that the impact across practices was variable with some practices having no files needing to review and a few having in excess of a thousand to review. NHS England has recently sent out letters pressing for the reviews to be completed.’
The papers said this followed ‘concerns raised in southwest London’.
The BMA’s GP Committee previously called the Docman error ‘a seriously concerning situation’ and urged NHS England to ascertain the scale of the problem and whether patients were put at risk.
It also launched the Docman survey, asking practices to report the workload impact of the error, which is still ongoing.
An NHS England spokesperson said: ‘GP Practices and the BMA are continuing to work with NHS England and NHS Digital to assess the full extent of the issue and any potential impacts, as well as taking corrective actions.
‘CCGs and GPs have been granted more time to carry out the review of documents.’
Last month, the Department of Health and Social Care released its new vision for IT, which said that all patient records should be moved onto public cloud services, meaning it could be accessed anywhere in the country and by multiple healthcare professionals.
Docman has been approached for comments.
This story was first published on our sister publication Pulse.