Patients can now opt out of NHS e-records by post

23 Mar 2009 View Comments
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Patients no longer need to visit a surgery to opt out of the scheme

Patients can now opt out of having an electronic medical record by post, according to Gillian Braunold, clinical director of the NHS Summary Care Record Programme.

The summary care records scheme aims to record the details of patients electronically so they can be shared more easily between clinical staff.

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Previously anyone wishing to opt out of the scheme was obliged to visit a GP surgery in person.

But after feedback from early adopter schemes, the NHS has decided to change its policy, said Braunold.

"We have listened to our early adopters and decided we need to make sure there is an easier way to opt out than through a visit to the surgery," she said.

"While it is important that patients are given the opportunity to talk through options, we also want to make it as easy as possible for those who have already made up their mind."

One of the early adopter sites in Dorset has used a form which could be downloaded from the internet and posted, a model that could be followed by others.

New guidance on the change has been issued by NHS Connecting for Health to NHS Primary Care Trusts involved in the scheme.

A study by University College London of four of the six early adopter sites for the care record system said it delivered real and material benefits but that patients needed to be better informed on the implications of the electronic care record.

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