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Fears as patients' records go online; National scheme coming to Kirklees.


A CONTROVERSIAL scheme to put patients' medical records online is to be rolled out across Kirklees.

The Summary Care Records will enable doctors to access a patient's records wherever they need treatment.

More than 340,000 people living in the district will be affected by the UK-wide scheme.

The scheme has now been approved by health officials locally, after a consultation period.

It aims to change the way important medical information is shared with NHS staff.

Patients' medical records will be uploaded to a central database where the information can then be shared between healthcare staff.

At present patient records are in paper files in GP surgeries.

The new database will store medical files in electronic form, with information including current prescriptions, allergies and reactions to medicines.

It means that if the patient is taken ill in another part of the country, a doctor will be able to access their medical history to help with their treatment.

Privacy campaigners have said the move shifts the ownership of medical information from health professionals to the state.

Health bosses have said the information is secure and only accessible to staff directly involved in a patient's treatment.

Patients can contact the NHS care records information line on 0845 603 8510, the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) on 01484 464464 or visit www.nhscarerecords.

THE CASE AGAINST JAMES Elsdon-Baker, a spokesman for the records' campaign group NO2ID, said: "It's shocking that patients and practitioners are being deceived in this way as to who will have access to their families' medical details on the new centralised system.

"Access made in the public interest is a broad category that would result in state snooping into your private medical history.

"A clause that allows the information to be used 'in the public interest' could mean for medical research.

"A document by Connecting for Health, the organisation responsible for the roll-out of the centralised medical record system, states private medical data will be accessed without patients consent by non-medical staff in a variety of situations.

"These reasons include access made in the public interest, access required by statue and access required by court order."

THE CASE FOR DR David Anderson, a Fartown GP, is chairman of the professional executive committee at NHS Kirklees.

He said: "The summary care record allows quick access to patient information.

"It also improves patient safety and access to essential patient data during episodes of urgent or unscheduled care.

"For many patients, making this information available is common sense and they are often surprised that it doesn't happen already."

He said the new system aims to increase the speed of treatment. * SUPPORT: Fartown GP Dr David Anderson, right, said new system aims to speed up treatment
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Jul 9, 2010
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