Patients Could Be Given Access To Records Online
New proposal receives government backing.
The government is backing proposals to allow patients to have online access to their medical records.
The NHS Future Forum, the body advising the coalition government on its health reforms, is recommending patients should be able to see their medical history and prescription and appointment details online for free, according to a report in The Times.
The service could stretch further so medical test results, hospital discharge notes and repeat prescriptions could also be obtained online to avoid unnecessary appointments.
The Future Forum, which was formed earlier this year, reportedly said the plans could be introduced in England within three years. The scheme would also allow patients to point out mistakes in their records or ask for a second opinion from their GP. At the moment although patients can ask to see their records they have to explain what their reasons are for doing so.
Health minister Lord Howe told The Times: "We fully support NHS patients having online access to their personal GP records. Our vision for a modern NHS is to give patients more information and control over their health. That's why the independent NHS Future Forum has continued to listen specifically on this issue and how we make it a reality for patients.”
But there might be some opposition to the changes from GPs and medical professionals who may object to patients having unrestricted access to potentially sensitive information. And with the upgrade to NHS electronic medical records being delayed the speed of the implementation of this latest suggested change may be an issue.
The Patients Association said the initiative would help people who are having difficulty persuading medical professionals to allow them access to their records, but stressed that patient confidentiality is of the utmost importance.