Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Records Database All Set to Go Ahead

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Records Database All Set to Go Ahead

Article excerpt

Byline: Helen Rae

PATIENTS in the North East will soon have parts of their medical records uploaded onto a centrally-stored electronic database.

Everyone aged over 16 and registered with a practice in Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland will receive information packs over the next two weeks telling them about Summary Care Records (SCR) and their rights.

SCR is an electronic version of patients' health information derived from their doctors' notes and shared between healthcare staff.

Each record will contain information on medicines the patient is taking, their allergies, and any bad reactions to medication they have had in the past.

Patients will have the option not to be listed, but they will have to fill out an 'opt-out' form.

The system will link more than 30,000 GPs to nearly 300 hospitals nationwide and will be fully operational later this year, with more than 2.5 million people in the North East eligible to have their details used.

Plans for the SCR had been met with delays and controversy since they were announced by the previous Labour Government.

Leading doctors have raised concerns about data safety issues surrounding uploading potentially confidential information.

Dr Roger Ford, honorary secretary of the British Medical Association's Northern Council, said: "In June last year GPs and GP practice managers in the South of Tyne were sent a questionnaire asking whether they would be happy to have their own personal medical records uploaded onto a central Government computer database. The majority of those doctors that responded were not happy.

"In addition to the main concern around the maintenance of confidentiality of the storage of such personal details, GPs were also concerned that their patients were not being fully informed about the system.

"Following discussions between the profession and the Department of Health major changes have been made to the content of those records. …

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