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’.

BMA calls for roll-out of electronic patient records to be suspended

The BMA has written to the government calling for a suspension of the programme to upload summaries of patients’ medical records in England to a national database.

In December, the Department of Health announced that the roll-out of the Summary Care Record would be accelerated, and the BMA has serious concerns that the process is being carried out too quickly. Patients can opt out of having a record created, and the BMA believes they are receiving insufficient information about the choices they can make.

GPs have reported that the rushed implementation of the programme means they do not have time to support patients in making an informed choice, and that in some cases records are being created without even implied consent from patients.