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Electronic GP patient record access expanded

Access to electronic GP patient records has been expanded to cover all planned patient care in Wales.

Summaries of patient records were previously only available to pharmacists and doctors working in A&E or other emergency care settings.

But from this month the records will be available across hospitals and pharmacists including during outpatient appointments in a bed to improve patient safety, the Welsh government announced.

The GPC has been carefully assessing the plans to ensure the security of patient information.

Under the scheme, every time a patient’s record is accessed via the secure database, it will be logged with an audit trail to show who has looked at the summary.

Patients will be asked by the health professional providing their care for permission to look at their record at each and every consultation and they can opt out of the system altogether should they wish.

Wales GPC chair Dr Charlotte Jones said it now had ‘full assurance that the extension of access will be safe, secure and will advance the ability to provide safer clinical care to the patient’.

Health secretary Vaughan Gething said the change meant ‘vital information’ was available to healthcare professionals around the clock regardless of how a patient comes into hospital.

Rhidian Hurle, chief clinical information officer for Wales, said: ‘The extended access to the GP record makes it easier for health professionals to provide safer care, saving them time in getting the correct information about the patients they are caring for and therefore allowing them more time to focus on the patients needs.’