Saturday, 27 February 2010

NHS Spine

The Summary Care Record (SCR) scheme (the Spine) will make outlines of medical records available to hundreds of thousands of NHS staff in England. The idea is to provide doctors and nurses in England with easier access to information on patients registered with other doctors without having to call or fax their main medics, see here. The cost is over £12 billion.

Security is a problem. A Scottish doctor managed to look at the health records of both Gordon Brown and Alex Salmond, because he was 'curious' and was not prosecuted. (Scotland has a similar scheme.)

Roll-out of Summary Care Records is gathering pace. To date nearly 1.2 million Summary Care Records have been created and over 6 million patients have been written to as part of a Public Information Programme.

The system is fraught with privacy pitfalls while offering questionable clinical benefits, according to Professor Ross Anderson of Cambridge University.

The opt out rate remains below 1%. You could join this select number and, if you have a serious medical condition, if I were you I would wear a tag. Especially if you have a surname such as Smith or Jones.

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