All GP practices should provide unique and confidential computer logins for locum doctors to ensure that they can be identified at a later date, urges the Medical Protection Society (MPS). MPS is aware of cases where an adverse event has occurred, yet there was no way of identifying who was involved, because different locums were sharing the same login. Speaking today at a conference for locum GPs, Dr Stephanie Bown, MPS Director of Policy and Communications said:
"Medical records should be attributable, the author of any entry should be clear. When making electronic records locums should not share usernames and passwords as it is important for practices to be able to identify the author of an entry and who saw the patient. When several different doctors and nurses are involved in a patient’s care, it’s important for any one of them to know who the patient has seen previously. By knowing who saw a patient, it is possible to share feedback on their performance, which leads to better care and less complaints. Whilst all practising doctors should have their own professional indemnity in place, practices could be held liable for the errors of a locum if that individual cannot be identified or traced when a claim is subsequently brought. If different people are sharing the same login, it can be impossible to trace the individual responsible."
GMC guidance states that doctors must keep clear, accurate, legible and contemporaneous patient records, and part of this is attributing entries to an author.