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A third of patients on COPD registers are misdiagnosed

Connecting for Health's official 'vision' for the content of shared care records has finally been revealed. The plans spell out how locally generated records are expected to feed into a national 'summary'.

The local Patient Clinical Record will comprise the separate records generated at GP surgeries, pharmacists, dentists or opticians, with patients able to limit what goes on it.

A National Summary Record, formed by extracting data from the local record, will detail major health problems, current prescriptions and allergies, but exclude 'sensitive'

data such as mental health or STIs.

It will be added to with all electronic prescribing records, significant diagnoses or procedures, clinical documents such as referral letters, and patient preferences such as living wills or organ donation.

Each entry on the summary will note its author and date, creating an index of who treated a patient, and an audit trail of who accessed the record. Again, patients can limit what goes on the summary.

The detail is contained in a report drawn up by Professor Mike Pringle, one of two GP clinical leads for Connecting for Health. It admits the sharing of information 'is accompanied by an increase in the risk to patient confidentiality'.

Dr Mary Hawking, a GP

in Dunstable, Bedfordshire, warned that withholding 'sensitive' information could jeopardise patient care.

'The concept of being able to get relevant information when you need it is very attractive but the devil is in the detail,' she said.

Dr Alan Hassey, co-chair of the joint IT committee of

the RCGP and GPC, was

concerned how information would be properly under-stood wherever it was read.

Primary care IT experts complained a deadline of July 20 to respond to the report, for sign-off on July 28 by the Care Record Development Board, left little time to examine the report.

Dr Paul Thornton, a GP in Kingsbury, Warwickshire, said the consultation was a 'fig-leaf' that would allow authorities to 'snoop' on records at will.

By Rob Finch

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