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December 18, 2006

UK government lets patients block NHS e-record uploads

The government has seemingly reversed its position on the National Health Service e-record database, having agreed to allow patients to veto any part of their record from being uploaded onto the system.

By CBR Staff Writer

UK health minister Lord Warner announced at a press conference that the government would not make GPs provide medical summaries without their patients’ consent. The change in policy was prompted by patients’ concern about confidentiality.

Lord Warner told The Guardian that a similar policy was implemented in Scotland, but only 250 of six million patients asked for their records to be withheld.

We believe that, despite the noise it has generated, the electronic record will be of huge benefit to patient care, he told the newspaper. It could save the lives of vulnerable elderly people if paramedics gained instant access to information about their medication and their GP’s most recent diagnosis.

The new policy means that patients would not have to give reasons as to why they do not want their medical record uploaded, but would have to cite reasons of ‘mental distress’ if they wanted them deleted from the system completely.

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