Supplementary written evidence from the
Ministry of Defence |
1. This memorandum is provided in response to
a question raised during the Select Committee's oral evidence
sessions on the Armed Forces Bill. The question related to the
tracking of ex-Service personnel within the NHS through their
2. The electronic record exchange system in the
NHS is called "GP2GP" and it transfers a patient's full
primary healthcare record as and when patients move between NHS
GP practices. Around 50% of NHS GPs are able to use this system
at present, with the coverage expected to reach 90% in the next
3. Traditionally, a summarised record was produced
during the discharge medical and handed to the patients themselves.
The Defence Medical Services are piloting a new process for the
direct transfer of medical records to the NHS GP of Service leavers
upon discharge. This process is manual and includes summary medical
record, NHS GP registration form and a covering letter advising
NHS GP practices to code the individuals as having "a history
of military service". This letter was produced by the Department
of Health to encourage English GPs to code the veteran status
within their electronic health records. This is seen as the first
step in what may in time be a requirement on GPs in the NHS to
record an individual's veteran status.
4. No transfer of records can occur without consent
of the patient and, at present, it appears that take-up in the
RAF and Navy is low - these personnel appear to prefer to make
their own arrangements. Early indications are that there is a
higher uptake in the Army, but the Department is waiting for the
5. It is likely that during the Armed Forces
Bill Select Committee's visit to Chilwell, the GP was referring
to a separate plan that was considered in 2009. The Department
investigated the possibility of matching MoD records to NHS and
attaching a flag on the NHS national demographic database. However,
this would have cost the Government between £4 million and
£6.5 million but would have identified only about 20% of
current veterans; thus the project was not taken forward as it
would have been only a partial solution and would not have provided
value for money.
6. The Department is working with the NHS to
develop the electronic transfer of records via "GP2GP".
The project to make the Defence Medical Service IT system compatible
with NHS systems is complex given the nature of the data exchanged,
and it is likely that a solution may take around another two years
to implement. We therefore expect to introduce "GP2GP"
for Defence use in 2013.
7. Eventually, when a full medical record is
transferred to a NHS GP electronically, the individual's veteran
"status" could automatically be identified within the
record. This could become an integral part of the health record
without the need for the GP to input any data. However, because
consent is currently required for the recording of military service,
the system will not capture those who do not want to be identified
as ex-Service personnel. To remove the requirement for consent
would require legislation to modify the duties under the Data
Protection Act 1988 and the Health and Social Care Act 2008.
24 February 2011