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Patients not interested in seeing Care Record online

By Steve Nowottny

A website set up to allow patients to view their Summary Care Record online has attracted such little interest that one PCT was forced to beg its own staff to sign up, Pulse has learned.

The independent evaluation of the Summary Care Record published last week found participation in Healthspace running at a ‘very low level', with the vast majority of patients showing ‘disinterest in their own health record'.

Despite a huge publicity campaign in Summary Care Record early adopter areas, only one in 300 patients invited to register for a Healthspace account has so far done so. Only one in a thousand has an advanced account which allows access to the Summary Care Record – just 66 patients in total.

The news comes as further details of care record pilots emerged in a series of PCT documents released under the Freedom of Information Act.

The low uptake has caused such alarm among NHS bosses that at the end of last year one early adopter area, Bury PCT, emailed all its employees asking them to take part.

The project team reported: ‘Every member of the PCT has been emailed asking if they would like to register for Healthspace. In total we have received no responses.'

Dr Gillian Braunold, clinical director of the Summary Care Record, insisted Healthspace would bring real benefits to patients with long-term conditions, but admitted delays to record uploads had limited its appeal to patients. ‘So far there hasn't been that much to look at,' she said.

She added that Connecting for Health would accept the evaluation's recommendation that Healthspace be developed separately to the Summary Care Record, so it is not slowed down by delays.

Meanwhile it emerged that a practice in Bury has pulled out of the Summary Care Record project altogether over concerns about patient consent.

Practice manager Ann Stewart conducted an informal poll of 50 patients at the St Gabriel's Medical Centre, and found most were completely unaware they had given consent to have a record. ‘They just had a glazed expression – it was very evident they didn't have a clue,' she said.

‘We haven't actually formally notified the patients that we haven't gone ahead with the project – and not one person has come in and said "What's happening?"'

The Summary Care Record Advisory Group is now considering whether to accept the independent evaluation's recommendation that patients now be asked for explicit consent every time their records are accessed.

NHS IT: patients snubbing website NHS IT: patients snubbing website

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