Controversial medical records database suspended

A controversial scheme to upload confidential medical records to a national database has been suspended following public outcry.

The project triggered anger when it was revealed that information could have been logged on the system without patients’ knowledge.

The British Medical Association (BMA) warned that many people were not even aware of the scheme, let alone the fact that they could ‘opt out’.

Patients are not being adequately informed about electronic patient records, says BMA

Patients don’t have enough information about electronic patient records and it is too hard for them to opt-out if they want to, the BMA said today (Monday 1 March 2010).

Following limited local piloting, patients’ summary care records1 are now going to be uploaded to a central database across England. Five Strategic Health Authorities recently announced they were speeding up their plans2. Anyone who does not want to have a Summary Care Record (SCR) has to opt out3 by informing their GP or by completing a form either downloaded from the internet or requested through an ‘0845’ national call centre.4