A new NHS computer system is coming to this area soon, called the Summary Care Record (SCR). The Summary Care Record is meant to help emergency doctors and nurses help you when you contact them when the surgery is closed. Initially, it will contain just your medications and allergies. However, later on as the computer system (known as the "NHS Spine") develops, many other people who work in the NHS will be able to access it and much more: eg information from hospitals, blood tests, x-rays and specialists‟ letters.
The information will be sent from practices such as ours and held on NHS databases. As with all new systems there are pros and cons; when you speak to an emergency doctor you might overlook something that is important and if they have access to your medical record it might avoid mistakes or problems. On the other hand, there is not much evidence that these sorts of systems dramatically improve care. Having all your personal medical information in one place increases the risk of other people accessing it without permission (known as „hacking‟) or it getting lost.
The purpose of this factsheet is not about whether you should have your data on the Summary Care Record or not. It is about your right to control what‟s happening to your care records. Connecting for Health, the government agency responsible for the Summary Care Record have agreed with doctors‟ leaders that patients registering with this practice should have absolute control over whether or not their records are available on the Summary Care Record. However, for patients already registered with the practice it is assumed you want a Summary Care Record unless you actively opt out. This practice believes everyone should have the same control. The British Medical Association also believes patient medical records should not be uploaded without explicit patient/carer consent.
Please ask at our reception desk for an 'Patient/Carer Factsheet - Your Medical Records - Your Decision', which has an 'opt in/opt' out form attached to it, fill in the form and hand it back to reception who will action your decision.
Additional information can be found at: www.nhscarerecords.nhs.uk/summary.
Alternative views from people who have concerns about centrally-managed computer systems can be found at: www.thebigoptout.com.