NHS patients will be able to access to their NHS records online in the next three years under plans to be announced by the Government.Doctors’ surgeries will have to set up services to allow anyone to see their health files, book appointments and order repeat prescriptions on the internet.
People will also be given detailed information on the survival rates and success of treatments in their areas, so that they can choose to go to more “successful” hospitals or doctors if they wish.
A Government source said: “Many people are juggling longer working hours with caring for children and older relatives. Looking after their own health, and the health of their families needs to be as straightforward as possible.”
“Looking after our health should be easy — in an age where people can do their banking or shopping online, it should be just as simple to view your health records, order a repeat prescription or book a GP appointment.”
The move for online health records comes despite the decision by Andrew Lansley, the previous health secretary, to cancel a massive NHS national database amid fears over its cost and security concerns.
However the new online plan will be operated at a local level. Patients will have to opt-in to the system to read their records over the internet. Paramedics and other medical experts will also be given access to the records of those making use of the system.
It will be introduced before the next election in 2015 in a move described as a “watershed” for the NHS.
The proposal is one of the key planks of the new NHS mandate being announced by the Government.
The mandate is a set of instructions given by ministers to improve the health service following the Coalition’s reforms. Under the plans, people will be able to enter their postcode into a new system to assess the effectiveness of health treatment in their local areas.
A scheme allowing people to compare the success of individual surgeons or other doctors will also be extended.