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Call for patients to access medical records online

10 August 2009

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The Tories are to propose plans that would see NHS patients being able to access their medical records online.

In a similar way to how bank account details are held, the party has called for an overhaul of IT provision within the health service and for IT giants such as Google or Microsoft to host personal information.

After an independent review of NHS IT commissioned by shadow health minister Stephen O’Brien, the Tories are also proposing that local trusts choose their computer systems from a catalogue of agreed providers, rather than having it provided centrally.

The call for improved IT systems come with the government’s £12bn scheme to computerise all patients’ health records plagued by problems and delays.

According to the Tories, the NHS could be improved by allowing patients to communicate their experiences with others online.

Mr O’Brien said: “Giving patients greater control over their health records is crucial if we are to make the NHS more patient-centred.”

Professor Steve Field, Chairman of the Royal College of General Practitioners, added that the idea was an interesting one, which could be used by epileptics to record when they had fits or people with depression to identify triggers of their condition.

Copyright © Press Association 2009

NHS Connecting for Health

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“Patients in some GP surgeries can already access their own medical records online. Clinical system suppliers can already offer this service” – Nikki Hall, Cheltenham