The Department of Health has suspended the accelerated rollout of the Summary Care Record (SCR).
The SCR faced significant opposition from the British Medical Association, which had called for an immediate halt to the multibillion-pound rollout of the electronic records system for NHS patients, over concerns that it was being implemented at “break-neck” speed.
In a statement, DH said: "Patient Summary Care Records will not be created in the regions identified for accelerated implementation of the SCR Patient Information Programme, until appropriate professional and public awareness has been raised."
However, the suspension will only apply to five areas where an accelerated rollout was underway, namely NHS North West, NHS North East, NHS Yorkshire and Humber, NHS London and NHS East of England.
Dr Grant Ingrams, BMA’s IT subcommittee chair, said that patients needed to be made fully aware that their medical information would be uploaded onto a computer database by implied consent unless they actively opted out.
He added: "The accelerated roll-out has not gone smoothly. It has run into all sorts of problems across the country."
DH said it was currently sending out publicity leaflets to inform the public about the SCR, including information on how to opt-out.