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Independents' Day

Security fears for cervical cancer IT

The security of Scotland's new cervical cancer screening system has been questioned after it emerged that administration staff could access patients' results.

A GPC working group assessing the Cervical Call-Recall System, which is being piloted in some GP practices across Scotland, found the results could be accessed by anyone with a password, not just a patient's GP.

Dr Brian Keighley, chair of the working group, said: 'Such a system would be totally unacceptable to all of the women I know.

'It is redolent of the Government's cavalier attitude towards issues of confidentiality.

'I am not sure that, as it is, it is compliant with data protection laws.'

The Scottish Executive has agreed to review the system because of the concerns raised.

A spokesperson said: 'The NHS Services Scotland, who oversee the Scottish Cervical Screening Call-Recall System, have met GPs to discuss their concerns with administrative staff having access to data and they are taking forward work to resolve this issue.'

Dr Keighley said he was reassured by this. 'It is important to give utmost confidence and assurance to our patients.'

The new system currently remains on schedule to be implemented throughout Scotland on 1 May this year.

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