This site is intended for health professionals only

Scottish Government commits to providing patient access to their health data

by Beth Gault
27 February 2023

Share this article

The Scottish Government has unveiled further plans to create a ‘digital front door’ that will allow patients to access their health data via digital methods, as well as contribute to their own records.

The commitment was outlined within the government’s first data strategy for health and social care in the country, called Greater access, better insight, improved outcomes: a strategy for data-driven care in the digital age.

According to the document, which was published last week, the ‘digital front door’ will be built in stages, with a first release launched in late 2023. 

The tool will enable patients to view the information held about them and update it where it is incorrect. It will also make the sharing of health and social care data with other relevant organisations possible. For example, with social security to automate the process of getting benefits, or with prison services to support vulnerable people who need to access treatment.

The document said: ‘We will co-create a means for the public to contribute to their health and social care records, giving them a voice in the information that is presented to health and social care professionals through the Digital Front Door programme of work.’

The Scottish Government has also committed to developing a ‘nationally consistent, integrated, and accessible, electronic social care and health record’ to make it easier and quicker for staff to get the information they need for providing the ‘best care possible’. The new record will also mean patients only have to ‘tell their story once’, the plan said.

It added: ‘We want to empower individuals and professionals to make better informed decisions by providing access to the right data at the right time.’

The strategy also included commitments to improve GP IT systems and engage with the public to encourage understanding, awareness and trust.

It comes after several similar commitments in England, including enabling patients to have automatic access to their records. Over 600 practices are now offering patients access to GP records through the NHS App and other approved patient-facing apps.