Wales GP committee agreed with decision to drop EMIS

CREDIT: This story was first seen in OnMedica

The Royal College of GPs (RCGP) in Wales has warned that there is a ‘real risk’ that GPs already under significant pressure and considering retirement will leave the profession rather than face having to change IT systems, as it emerged that one of the two systems used in Wales – EMIS – will be dropped, OnMedica reports.

But the BMA’s GP committee in Wales said it had ultimately agreed with the decision to end EMIS’s contract because the company had wanted to implement changes that would have put practices ‘at unacceptable risk of disruption’.

EMIS will not be used in the future, after failing to pass the procurement process. RCGP Wales said it was concerned about the impact on GPs in Wales, as they are faced with a change in IT systems. RCGP Wales chair Dr Rebecca Payne said: “This will be a concerning development for many of our members. GPs are already under significant pressure, many older GPs are considering retirement and there is a real risk that changing IT systems will lead to people leaving the profession.”

She added: “Change on this scale requires time and resource, potentially decreasing GPs’ clinical time and being detrimental to patient care. We hope as much support as possible is given to practices in order to minimise disruption.”

The BMA said it had consistently highlighted the problems that would be caused for those practices currently using EMIS, if they had to change providers. But it explained that despite its concerns, it had decided to support the decision to end the EMIS contract.

Chair of the BMA’s Welsh Council Dr David Bailey said: “RGPC Wales has been fully engaged with NHS Wales Informatics Service (NWIS) throughout the procurement process and consistently highlighted the problems that changing providers would cause practices currently using EMIS.

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“However, RGPC Wales ultimately agreed with the decision to end the contract with EMIS due to the large number of criteria that they were unwilling to meet.”

He explained: “The changes EMIS wanted to implement would have put practices at unacceptable risk of disruption, and included no levers to protect practices operationally if the system were to collapse.”

He noted that the decision to end the EMIS contract is still subject to legal challenge until 6th February, so the BMA may not give a full explanation or answer questions in detail before that date. But he promised that RGPC Wales would do what it could to minimise disruption, by continuing to work closely with NWIS, the Welsh Government and Heath Boards. He added: “RGPC Wales has been firmly promised resources to support practices during the migration and more details on that will follow.”

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