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New lapses blow to records rollout

Two major security lapses that revealed junior doctors' messages and personal records to the public have intensified concerns among GPs about the roll-out of the NHS Care Records Service.

The Department of Health last week temporarily suspended the Medical Training Application Service (MTAS) website after claims doctors could read each other's messages.In a separate security breach, personal details of junior doctors, including their home addresses, religious affiliation and sexuality, were openly published on the website.'These errors will mean patients will withhold important information to avoid it going into large databases over which they do not have complete control,' said Dr Paul Thornton, a GP in Warwickshire and a veteran IT campaigner. 'Inevitably this will mean patient care will suffer.' Dr Paul Cundy, chair of the GPC IT subcommittee, said: 'This is another knock to the confidence of patients. The trust hurdle has now been set even higher.'The MTAS online process has also come under fire by GPs for a variety of technical problems and shortfall of training places.The BMA junior doctors' conference last week described problems with MTAS as 'gross negligence' and called for health secretary Patricia Hewitt and health minister Lord Hunt to step down.

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