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Patients urged to check GP records

The Consumers Association is calling on patients to check their medical records more frequently to avoid mistakes being made in their care.

A Which? report found several inaccuracies in records, mostly relating to hospital treatment.

A survey of 200 GPs by the magazine also found patients were less likely to request access to their medical records than insurance companies and lawyers.

One-third of the GPs said they received requests from patients at least once every few months. However, two GPs in three said they received requests from insurance companies at least once a week, and one in four said the same of solicitors.

GPC member Dr Paul Cundy, a GP in Wimbledon, south-west London, said sharing records meant extra work and could lead to ethical dilemmas. 'I can imagine an endless number of circumstances where a doctor records something correct but which a patient doesn't like and requests a change in the record,' he said.

Dr Richard Fitton, a GP in Glossop, Derbyshire, whose practice has opened up patients' access to records, said GPs had little to fear. 'There may be a legacy of inaccurate data but this is the time to put things right,' he said.

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