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Friday 21st October 2016

New debate over NHS computer records

7th June 2010

A fresh debate looks set to open over putting patient’s medical records on an NHS computer database.


GPs are considering whether to drop their involvement in the scheme with talk to try to make it easier for patients to opt-out of the system.

So far, 30 million people in England have been formally contacted about the computer records with the government insisting the roll-out will carry on.

But while some GPs support the project, because of its value in making vital information available out of hours, other doctors fear it may damage patient trust.

Dr Laurence Buckman, who chairs the British Medical Association GPs' committee, acknowledged the level of disquiet.

He said: “We're also aware that a lot of patients are very wary of this system, because it assumes they're happy for their data to be uploaded - without actually confirming that.”

The summary care record system will allow patient data to be accessed electronically by NHS staff anywhere in the country.

The roll-out is already well under way in England and NHS Connecting for Health says the opt-out rate so far is below 1% with data uploaded for 1.5m records in 21 Primary Care Trust areas.

Health minister Simon Burns told parliament in a written answer that uploading of information to the summary care record will continue "where the relevant GP practices and PCTs agree that patients have been adequately informed about the process".

But the campaign group, Big Brother Watch say the summary care record is an "unnecessary and intrusive piece of bureaucracy".


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