Security fear for patients

PUBLISHED: 10:03 09 November 2006 | UPDATED: 11:11 06 May 2010

PATIENTS rights could be breached and the security of medical records undermined by proposed plans to store sensitive information on an electronic database. That is the fear of MP for Mid Bedfordshire, Nadine Dorries - a former nurse. For every patient,

PATIENTS' rights could be breached and the security of medical records undermined by proposed plans to store sensitive information on an electronic database.

That is the fear of MP for Mid Bedfordshire, Nadine Dorries - a former nurse.

For every patient, the NHS Care Records Service intends to electronically create a Detailed Care Record - to be used by health service organisations which normally work together in a region - and a Summary Care Record - available to those treating the patient anywhere in England.

Mrs Dorries said: "I am concerned that the proposed NHS Summary Care Record could be open to abuse.

"We need reassurances as to what type of confidential patient records will be stored; who will have access to such information; whether it will be passed on to other agencies or organisations; and what security measures will be in place to ensure confidential information remains so.

"Information between a patient and their doctor is intended for their eyes only."

She added: "This is a very important issue and Parliament should make the decision as to what type of database is required.

"Patients should be given the choice to opt into the system if they choose to do so, so that consent must be obtained before a record can be established.

"The potential violation of privacy means that patient records could fall into the wrong hands with very serious consequences."

A spokesman for the East and North Hertfordshire Primary Care Trust said: "The NHS Care Record Guarantee sets out the rules that will govern information held by the NHS Care Records Service.

"The guarantee covers people's access to their own records, controls on others' access, how access will be monitored and policed, options people have to further limit access, access in an emergency and what happens when someone cannot make decisions for themselves."

Detailed Care Records will be developed over several years, starting this year and Summary Care Records will begin to be created from 2007 onwards.

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