In response to the report in today's Guardian announcing the first trials of the NHS electronic summary care record, Dr Richard Vautrey, deputy chair of the British Medical Association's (BMA) IT committee, said:
"The BMA welcomes the news that the trials of the electronic summary care records system will undergo independent evaluation. The pilots will have to be carefully managed and evaluated if we are to maintain the confidence of the public and healthcare workers. The lessons from this independent evaluation must be learnt before a more widespread roll out of the Summary Care Record.
"The electronic summary care records have the potential to improve patient safety and the quality of care but patients will need to be made aware of their rights. We would want to ensure that all patients receive balanced information that clearly explains their options. The impact on GP surgeries will also need to be closely examined as we do not want GPs to be overwhelmed with enquiries about electronic records leading to increased waiting times for patients."