NHS to stick with controversial care records, but undecided on patient consent

The coalition government has confirmed it will not scrap controversial Summary Care Records, in spite of both the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats having made pre-election pledges to ditch them in the interests of privacy. However, it is reportedly considering an opt-in model.

Share

The coalition government has confirmed it will keep controversial Summary Care Records, in spite of both the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats having made pre-election pledges to ditch them in the interests of privacy. However, it is reportedly considering a model that does not assume consent.

The news comes as confusion worsens as to whether the records will be held on a central spine or by patients.

In further confusion, the government has also pledged a “more open” and localised IT market for the NHS, but only within a model that ensures “the benefits of national procurement” - indicating national contracts as they currently exist might be best.

Health minister Simon Burns said in a speech on Tuesday that people would be able to “hold their own patient records”.

But in a letter to the BMA, seen by Computerworld UK, he wrote only that patients and doctors needed to feel an “ownership” of the records, rather than “them being perceived as something imposed by a central arm of government”. A review on how to achieve this still needed to take place, he wrote.

The news comes as the coalition government enters its second month in office, and reviews the SCR scheme, which is the largest part of the £12.7 billion National Programme for IT. Under the programme, contracts with suppliers BT and CSC are widely reported to have tough penalty clauses for a change of scope.

Find your next job with computerworld UK jobs