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Independents' Day

A third of patients 'shocked' that clinicians can't access GP record

A third of patients have expressed their shock that GP records aren’t electronically available to any healthcare professional who is treating them, a YouGov survey of more than 2,300 British adults has found.

The survey, commissioned by the EMIS Group, found that 85% of the public want any healthcare professional to have secure access to the GP record, and almost 70% say this would cut errors and save frustration in repeating medical information.

And almost two thirds of patients (61%) were worried that records aren’t routinely shared with A&E doctors, and that this could leave to-life threatening delays.

Three in ten patients said they were ‘shocked’ that this information isn’t already shared electronically, though Pulse reported last month that more than 40 million patients have now had summary care records created.

Chris Spencer, CEO of the EMIS Group, who produce the EMIS clinical IT systems said: ‘This survey confirms what we knew anecdotally to be true – that the vast majority of patients want clinicians to have access to their medical records at the point of care, and assume this happens as a matter of course.’

‘The reality is of course more complicated. Despite efforts to increase use of the Summary Care Record, and wider initiatives by forward-thinking system suppliers and local healthcare providers, data-sharing between clinicians is far from routine.’

‘Most A&E doctors are still in the position of having to phone the GP or ask for records to be faxed over, and data-sharing beyond urgent care is still under-developed.’

Readers' comments (9)

  • You get the answer to the question that you ask. The public are usually ignorant and don't think things through. The last Labour govt were masters of that deception, for example, "Do you want GPs to be open nights and weekends?" Guess what answer the public gave. What Labour didn't ask was "are you willing to pay a lot more tax to train and employ a lot more GPs, and pay them unsocial hours?"

    So the puiblic is aksed if they thought that any medic treating them should be able to see their med record, of course they said "yes". Who amongst us would not say yes to that? But the public did not think through the implications of what it really meant.

    Now try the poll again EMIS, but this time ask the proper question - "Do you think your most personal confidential medical secrets which you divulged to the GP in the strictest of confidence, should be transferred on the internet to a big government database so that other people can read it?" I bet the result is that 85% of the public DON'T want it.

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  • It is depressing to read the 9.42 comment - any notion of integrated care is dependent upon the concept of shared medical record but the level of detail of that sharing is defined by the clinicians involved in patient care so there is no situation in which all and sundry will be able to see everything which might be discussed at a GP consultation - I am afraid that this is scare mongering

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  • 22 years in medicine. Patient in extremis i have never needed records. Patient not extreme a good history from family or patient that I have taken is fine. Complex issues that need past records do not need immediate access and sharing the care by conversation with the normal physician is good practice as it avoids repeated investigation/treatments. Sharing is good for the IT companies that deliver it. Obviously there are exceptions but a system designed to cope with exeptions is probably poor. Allow all data to go on a smart card- read only outside, of the primary care provider, then the patient is in control of the data and can share with whomever they want to not anyone who want to pry.

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  • One of the reasons that, for example, patients get bounced from nursing home, to OOH, via paramedic to A & E outside of GP operational hours is that no one has access to adequate information with the result that A & E is clogged up with people who don't need to be there at a price that doesn't need to be paid: NHS England is looking for ways in which primary care can make sense of this and have developed a new GPsoC framework to make interoperability possible - it is not a scam promoted by IT companies as 11.09 suggests

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  • No suggestion of a scam, just IT companies will profit- no issue with that either but a comprehensive patient/carer held smart card gets around a lot of issues regarding data safety if read only. You only have to look at which means the GP falls foul of one bit of legistlation if uploads occur adn another if they don't.

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  • PM @ 11.02 and 11.47
    You are immensely trusting of Govt IT projects and confidentiality, a trust that the rest of the country does not share and for good reason.

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  • Its all about the question isn't it ....

    Choose one of the options

    Are you :-
    A) Shocked
    B) Quite Shocked
    C) Very Shocked
    D) Totally Mute with Shock
    D) Shocked into unconsciousness

    ... that any clinician can't access your complete private and confidential lifetime medical records?

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  • In my opinion there should be a single central record with individual GP and hospital systems intergrating with it rather than lots of seperate records being intergrated into one (SCR).

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  • Anonymous | Practice Manager | 13 August 2014 9:42am

    Everything discussed with a GP can be accessed by any member of staff in a practice, including practice managers who are not clinicians, which hardly constitutes 'confidentiality'!

    How many patients know that the reception lady can read what you have just discussed with your GP, or that practice managers can gossip to PPG's about a patient issues that are not their business? How many patients know that practice managers can make blanket statements about a patients health issues to the entire practice?

    Patient confidentiality went out the door years ago. human nature being what is it, folk gossip! I would feel extremely uncomfortable if a staff member of my practice happened to be a neighbour!

    In hospitals doctors do not read patients notes, a stream of doctors will ask you the same question repeatedly, none of them take notes ... and appear not to read what they have!

    The more folk that have access to medical records, the greater the risk of all medical records falling into the public domain fro anyone to read.

    I have had fantastic service from my GP, I trust him and want my records to remain very firmly in his hands.

    The knock on effect of all this is that patients are now very guarded as to what they tell GP's, which doesn't he;p the patient of the GP.

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