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Care Records are a patient's choice

I am staggered at the implication in Dr Freeman's letter (Care Records are a company boss's dream) that the vast majority of patients will see no benefit from electronic records and yet, he appears to see advantage for clinicians from private companies cashing in on out of hours access to electronic records, acknowledging that the records help them do their job properly.

If records are of benefit to those seeking to care for patients from the private sector, when the GP is unavailable, how much more so is it valuable to NHS colleagues, including fellow GPs who are covering the 133 hours per week the average surgery is not open? The Summary Care Record will also benefit GPs struggling in consortia to offer extended hours to patients, who will have access to key information.

Dr Freeman is sadly misinformed in his assumptions around exemption from the Summary Care Record. Every individual is perfectly entitled to say no to having one - though exemption is not assumed for anyone.

The information governance challenges for all of society are well-known now and every organisation and individual needs to acknowledge how they behave as guardians of patient information.

Dr Freeman says "I have spent 10 years compiling, correcting and updating my records." Surely he must know that these are the patients' records and not his personal property?

Medical records are written to support safer patient care and to enable clinicians looking after the patients to be better informed about their medical history. Our patients have a right to expect that technology is exploited to help their needs and that the health service responds to the challenges that are thrown up in the process.

Dr Gillian Braunold, Clinical Director Summary Care Record & HealthSpace

Dr Gillian Braunold

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