Thousands of paper records archived at Bradford Royal Infirmary and St Luke’s Hospital are being replaced by electronic files.

The introduction of electronic medical records for patients is a part of Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s plans for the coming year.

It has signed contracts with the company CSC and NHS Connecting for Health. Work has started on scanning casualty cards in the accident and emergency department and interim software has been introduced to allow clinicians to view them.

The next major milestone is December 30, when scanning of case notes stored in the ear, nose and throat and ophthalmology records library will start.

From there it will roll out to the rest of the organisation by March 2011.

In the meantime, the Trust is working on setting up an in-house scanning service at St Luke’s and is working with CSC to test the system.

In a presentation to the Trust’s board of governors, head of planning Lisa Hilder said electronic medical records were a more effective and efficient system.

She said it would also make it easier to share data between NHS organisations, improve the availability of patient records and reduce library and other logistical costs.

Partner governor Matt Palmer, who represents Bradford Council, questioned hospital chief executive Miles Scott about the security of the system and was told it was safe.

The move to electronic medical records is one of a series of approved capital developments contained in the Trust’s annual plan for 2010/2011.

Others include the development of a neonatal intensive care, a midwife-led unit, catering improvements and the continuation of a programme of ward refurbishments.

The final annual plan will be signed off by the Trust’s board of directors in May and submitted to foundation trust regulator Monitor by May 31.