Skip to main content

End of MRC GPRD Access Scheme

For the past few years, the MRC has funded access to GPRD data for UK researchers. This has been very helpful in increasing expertise in the use of GPRD amongst UK researchers and boosting the number of academic papers that use the database. This scheme has now ended and the effects this might have on research were discussed in a recent BMJ news article. The UK has one of the highest uses of electronic patient records in primary care, and these records have been a great resource for biomedical researchers.

Before the licence scheme was implemented the main users of the database were based in the United States, Spain, and Switzerland but that after it was set up this was no longer the case. Although the MRC will continue to fund access to the data via its research grants schemes, the process for applying for access to the database will be much lengthier and because applying for the council’s grants is highly competitive it is likely that most grant applications will be unsuccessful. Hence, it is very likely that we will see a reduction in UK based research using the GPRD once current projects using data obtained under the old scheme end. In other areas of the NHS and public health, there are datasets that can be obtained at relatively low cost (or sometimes no cost). These include hospital episode statistics, mortality statistics, and cancer registrations.

We need a similar easy and cheap access to anonymised primary care records for research. The UK has a strong primary healthcare delivery system and a very high use of electronic patient records in this setting. We should therefore be leading the world in the secondary uses of data obtained from primary care.


Popular posts from this blog

Improving discharge planning in NHS hospitals

Factors that need to be considered in discharge planning that have been identified in previous projects include:

Ensuring that discharge arrangements are discussed with patients, family members and carers; and that they are given a copy of the discharge summary.Adequate coordination between the hospital, community health services, general practices, and the providers of social care services.There is a follow-up after discharge of patients at high risk of complications or readmission - either in person or by telephone - to ensure that the discharge arrangements are working well. Medicines reconciliation is carried out. This is the process of verifying patient medication lists at a point-of-care transition, such as hospital discharge, to identify which medications have been added, discontinued, or changed from pre-admission medication lists.Ensuring that any outstanding test results at discharge are obtained and passed on to primary care teams; and ensuring there are clear arrangements …

Can GPs issue private prescriptions to NHS patients?

The NHS prescription charge in England is currently £8.60 per item. At this level, many commonly prescribed drugs will cost less than the prescription charge and so some NHS patients may occasionally ask if they can have a private prescription rather than an NHS prescription.

In the past, some GPs have been advised that they could issue both an NHS FP10 and a private prescription, and let the patient decide which to use. But the British Medical Association's General Practice Committee has obtained legal advice that said under the current primary care contract, GPs in England may not issue a private prescription alongside or as an alternative to an NHS FP10 prescription. In any consultation where a GP needs to issue an FP10, the concurrent issue of a private prescription would be a breach of NHS regulations.

The issuing of a private prescription in such circumstances could also be seen as an attempt to deprive the NHS of the funds it would receive from the prescription charge. Fur…

What will Brexit mean for the NHS?

On the 29 March 2017, the Prime Minister of the UK Theresa May, formally notified the European Union (EU) Council President, Donald Tusk, of the UK’s intention to leave the EU. Theresa May’s letter to Donald Tusk triggers a two-year process during which the UK will have to negotiate both the terms of its exit from EU and the arrangements that will replace those we have had for over 40 years with the other member states of the EU. The consequences of the United Kingdom’s departure from the EU (commonly referred to as ‘Brexit’) will be wide-ranging and will affect all areas of UK’s society, including the National Health Service (NHS).

For the NHS, Brexit comes at a time when it faces many other major challenges. These include severe financial pressures, rising workload, increased waiting times for both primary care and specialist services, and shortages of health professionals in many key areas (such as in general practice and in emergency departments). The NHS also faces challenges fr…