NHS scaring patients into accepting electronic records database

The NHS has been accused of scaring patients into agreeing to have their personal information included on the controversial NPfIT electronic records database.

The agency charged with rolling out the new system is warning of “adverse consequences” if people choose to opt out of the computerised network, which has been criticised as chaotic by doctors.

It is also claiming that the NHS currently has “significant problems” with lost records.

NHS scares patients over personal data

A document posted on the website of NHS Connecting for Health lists several dangers to patients if they continue to have their medical information stored on paper files.

It states: “Health-care staff treating you may not be aware of your current medications in order to treat you safely and effectively.

“Health-care staff treating you may not be made aware of current conditions and/or diagnoses leading to a delay or missed opportunity for correct treatment.

“Health-care staff may not be aware of any allergies/adverse reactions to medications and may prescribe or administer a drug/treatment with adverse consequences.”

While acknowledging confidentiality risks over the digital database, the document continues: “It is … misleading to suggest that not having such a record is risk free.”

The computerised record system, also known as the care summary record, is intended to make it easier for doctors and nurses to get access patients’ medical histories.

But the programme has been beset by technical problems and criticisms. Last month the labour Government halted the national roll-out after it emerged that data could have been logged on the system without patients’ knowledge.

Information about more than 1.25 million patients have already gone on to the database, which eventually could hold up to 50 million records.

The Big Brother Watch lobby group accused Connecting for Health of overstating the risk to patients if they opt out of the system, after a Department of Health spokesman said the problem of lost paper records was not “significant” as the agency claimed.

Dylan Sharpe, the Big Brother Watch campaign director, told the Daily Mail: “If you value your privacy ignore these false and misleading warnings and opt out.”

From: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/NHS-scaring-patients-into-accepting-electronic-records-database

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