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EMIS reverses panic button decision

BMA lobbying has helped GP practices to retain the EMIS panic button, which is used in emergency situations, as EMIS has decided that the EMIS panic button will continue to be available for practices who wish to keep it (see below for details).

The number one priority for any doctor is ensuring patient safety, which is why changes to the EMIS system have an impact. We have a duty of care to voice our concerns when there is a risk, and are pleased to see they have been taken seriously.

Although we know that some practices face technical challenges with the system so do not use it, this is a sign that the NHS IT infrastructure is seriously inadequate. We need to see actual investment in practices to not only help them stay open, but ensure that they are as safe a space as possible.

EMIS Web Panic Button Update
Publish Date: 25/05/2023 14:00:37 BST

In March 2023, we informed users of our intention to remove the Panic Button functionality from EMIS Web due to concerns regarding its efficacy (including, that certain local network configurations prevent the button working as designed).

Our clinical team advised it would be better to remove this functionality rather than have users relying on a solution which may not function as intended in every instance and recommend customers adopt an alternative approach to staff safety.

We take the safety of our users very seriously, and we are supporting senior clinicians at NHS England who are seeking to develop a future standard of safety in Practices and consultation rooms.

As part of this collaboration, we have confirmed a date for when the Panic Button will be removed as standard from EMIS Web, and also agreed an approach for users who have not yet implemented an alternative solution.

  1. We will be removing the Panic Button as standard from EMIS Web on Friday 29th September 2023.  From this date, the Panic Button icon and functionality will be removed unless we receive specific instruction from customers (see below).
  2. Organisations can request that the Panic Button in EMIS Web remains available for their organisations beyond Friday 29th September 2023.  As part of this request, you will be required to acknowledge and accept responsibility for the known risks and limitations associated with the functionality.

Organisations who request the Panic Button to remain available, will be able to request that it is subsequently disabled at any time.  We will not accept requests for the functionality to be reactivated once it has been disabled.

More details on how to make this request will be provided by mid-June.

Please note: Whilst the Panic Button is still currently available in EMIS Web, the Service Status on EMIS Now advises that users: (i) are made aware of the potential limitation associated with use of the Panic Button; and (ii) consider putting a local plan in place for emergency situations.

This will remain until the functionality is removed on Friday 29th September 2023.  For Organisations that request for the functionality to remain after this date, appropriate guidance will be provided as part of the request process.

First Published
29 May 2023
Updated On
6 June 2023
Due to be Reviewed
29 May 2024
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