back to article Doctors tell government to stop the health records roll-out

The British Medical Association is calling on the Department of Health to suspend the roll-out of summary care records. The BMA said the project was being accelerated and it had serious concerns that patients are not getting the information they needed to decide whether or not they want their medical records put onto a …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Same decaying horse, already flogged.

    My doctors ignore the BMA on so many levels I don't expect this to work.

    Who is going to provide the printouts. That costs and doctors don't do it if they have to pay. The PCT won't pay because the PCT does what the DH says and the DH says waste money on the roll out. And we don't have the money, we are too busy trying to fund the pandemic and find 20 Million savings in two years because the NHS has had monetary cutbacks on a grand scale.

    But who is listening anymore?

    Nuff said.

  2. Ben Boyle

    Title goes here

    My GP's surgery sent letters out to all their patients including opt-out forms and suggesting that people fill them in and return forthwith. Surprisingly, it was also accompanied by an intelligent fact sheet discussing pros and cons, with very little bias in the information.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      some of

      Some lucky people in our region received a letter with not only their details and opt out forms in the envelope but other random people as well!

      Nice to see their spreading the data around already no?

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Me too

        I received mine explaining how carefully they would look after my confidential information, all the safeguards in place to ensure data wasn't leaked, and lo and behold, the second sheet was actually a cover letter for the next person in the list. I now have their name, address and NHS number.

        Excellent work, CfH - I'm impressed.

        Anon, 'cos I sell IT security products to the NHS.

  3. Codge
    Big Brother


    The practice manager at my surgery was most surprised that I asked to be excluded from the SCR.

    I had to send a signed letter to opt out.

    Good to see the BMA standing up for us patients.

  4. Anonymous Coward


    Cant we just get on with it!?? Records in a centralised system sounds like a bloody obvious idea why the need for an opt out, with all the stupid forms and additional cost in processing them?

    The NHS is such a monolithic dinosaur and its dragging of feet on every issue is just a joke, it even makes the Post Office look swift and efficient.

    Its about time someone with a business head on, was sent into the NHS to tell the Doctors to just get on with their job of being Doctors and the people that have designed, tested etc. the system got on with their jobs.

    We dont need another public funded department full of pin-money middle aged women pushing forms around.....

    1. Anonymous Coward

      erm... geez

      Dare I suggest that inserting "someone with a business head on" at the head of a organisation now in possession an enormous repository of accurate, intimate, yet eminently exploitable data might not be in the best interests of, well, pretty much anyone?

    2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Grrr...

      On a recent related article, one commenter claimed that although you can opt out of the summary care record, you can't opt out of the detailed care record which will also be available on the spine. So what's the point? (Asked in all seriousness, since I haven't received any letter yet and I reckon the El Reg readership are probably the most likely place I'll find an informed opinion on the matter.)

    3. David Ward 1

      I agree

      I agree, its a lot of hassle having patients opt-out, the system is well designed and there are much more obvious security problems than this! Personally I can't be bothered with the 3 patients I have who have chosen to opt out, so I have chosen to opt-out of having them as my patients and had them struck from the list, good riddance to them!

      1. Displacement Activity


        If you're actually a GP, then that was a really, really dumb thing to write. Not to mention that a two-minute search narrowed you down to one of six in the country.

        Hint: hit the retract button.

      2. Drew Whitworth

        The caring face of the health profession

        "Personally I can't be bothered with the 3 patients I have who have chosen to opt out, so I have chosen to opt-out of having them as my patients and had them struck from the list, good riddance to them!"

        Nice to see that you have such concern for your patients. I am sure they will be very glad to know that you believe their health records to be your own private fief and have some kind of a legitimate right to not only tell people what to do with them, but that you care so little about their interests and concerns that you are willing to leave them in the lurch in this arbitrary way.

        I have opted out because I have no confidence in the government's ability not to f*** up this project somehow. However, if the system shows itself to run well over the next few years I will then exercise my right to come back in. You may disagree with me and you may even think you have a moral right to refuse to treat people just because they disagree with you: but in fact you show yourself up to be an arrogant idiot. Frankly I hope you lose all your patients.

      3. Anonymous Coward

        @David Ward 1

        "I can't be bothered with the 3 patients I have who have chosen to opt out, so I have chosen to opt-out of having them as my patients and had them struck from the list, good riddance to them!"

        So, anyone concerned about their own privacy is struck off your list?

        ...says it all really!

      4. poikes
        Thumb Down


        i sincerely hope you are trolling, because if this is the attitude of the health professionals *I PAY for* to my rights then the Health Service has a bigger problem than lack of funds.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Me too !

    I wrote a letter to my GP year ago saying didnt want the Police state Labour Govt having all my data. I would not trust Labour or any Govt with it. Look at what they did with data held by Councils, sold it to credit companies without any notice whatsoever. The Govt consists of 99% liars and a few good ones,very few.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    @me too

    Agreed, I wouldn't trust a single politician with data about my dog never mind me. I do disagree on one small point; ALL politicians are lying thieving scum.

  7. Rob Bowley

    Sign the petition to demand the government review it's outdated IT processes

    There is currently a petition open on the Number 10 website to demand the Government review it's outdated IT processes of signing huge contracts for software projects which are then destined to fail and instead adopt a more incremental and agile approach.

    If you are sick and tired of hearing about how many billions of pounds of taxpayers money is being needlessly wasted please sign:

  8. Anonymous Coward


    Haven't a batch of the letters gone out already? Containing personal information about other people?

    Thereby proving that the SCRs are already insecure and liable to expose your haemorrhoids (or much much worse) to your neighbours...

    Mine's the one with the freshly printed opt-out form in the pocket.

  9. Dances With Sheep

    No opt out forms for us

    The one sided letter we got told us how wonderful the new system was, with no opt-out forms in sight (maybe they got left in the back of a taxi?)

    Anyway if you are too lazy to write to your GP yourself, the nice people at will auto-generate a letter for you (providing you don't mind entering your doctors name into their website of course)

  10. tom 71

    do they care?

    Not sure that my neighbors actually care if i have hemorrhoids or clap, or even HIV so long as i don't sleep with them (not much problem since their 75+, they might shovel my snow if i get ill however).

    Working in the health service its a real help if i can check what your history is when i try to diagnose your problem. Health care isn't so joined up that they give me the relevant information yet.

  11. Ascylto
    Big Brother

    I'm Out

    In that I have opted out of the NHS Spine.

    I think the Spine is a wonderful idea ... a doc in X can find out what I want / need / am on when I'm well away from home.

    So far, the information could be on those bracelets / necklaces / watch straps you could get (remember them?) but what's down the line? 'Mission Creep' they call it. Gordon Brown has already said he's prepared to sell ID information so what happens when the Insurance Company wants your medical records ... do you tick / untick a box?

    Too many IFs for me.

  12. Mary Hawking

    The problems with the SCR

    I'm a GP - so this is a GP take on the SCR.

    1. it started like the Scottish ECR (Emergency Care Record) as an upload of medication, allergies and adverse reactions.

    The medication is likely to be accurate and complete - and allergies/adverse reactions useful even if inaccurate or incomplete.

    2. The SCR will then be "enriched" (without further notice or public or patient consultation) by information from, initially, the GP record then other sources including hospital discharges, lab results and other unspecified sources.

    3. The data quality in GP records is very variable - making problems for the Urgent Care groups using it for patient care: *is* this record both accurate and with no significant omissions?

    4. There has already been significant expansion in the scope and purpose of the SCR: it now looks as though there may be plans to make it a nationally available Detailed Care Record - i.e. the one and only medical record - with no clarity as to how this would be managed: like a SSEPR with *no* clinical or information governance at all!

    My conclusions.

    If you have multiple medication and complex morbidity, advantages probably out-weigh risks (assuming, of course, that the local urgent care services have the capacity to access it!)

    If not, lot of risk of holding misleading or incomplete information and no apparent advantage: why not opt-out now and opt-in at a later date if it proves useful?


    I do not trust the Secretary of State for Health as Data Controller for the SCR: untrained and unqualified.


    I do not agree that the patient has no right to opt-out of having an SCR or that this is a concession at the discretion of the NHS.

    (check the SCR website FAQ for clinicians)

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Problems with the SCR

      The impression I got from the NHS site on this subject was that (if I signed up for the gold-plated option) I'd be able to view my health records on my own PC and the detailed care record wouldn't have an opt-out. Is that right? If I find an error in my SCR, can I challenge it?

      Being able to view my own records would *reduce* the chances of error or omission. I grant that my medical knowledge is pretty thin, so errors might slip past and I might miss details that you later find significant, but equally I will take a personal interest in my record so if you make a mistake on my SCR then you've got a second pair of eyeballs to catch it. Isn't that safer than the current system, where although I may have a notional right to view some of my medical records we all know that hardly anyone ever exercises it.

      On the other hand, if detailed records eventually end up on the spine (and on a memory stick on a train) then it hardly matters either way. Should that happen, most of us here at least have the consolation that *our* records are much less interesting than those of the politicians who got us into this mess.

  13. ElFatbob

    someone touched on it in an earlier post

    but the one of the attractions of such a system is the ability to harvest and ultimately sell personal information.

    And lets not kid ourselves on about confidential medical information being sacrosanct in any way - the government already allows access to the DNA database for 'research' (which, if you are a policeman, you can say 'no' to, but joe pleb has no such right) and the DVLA regularly sells our details to clamping criminals and other extortive individuals.

    Economically, we don't have any genuine wealth generation any more, so the government has clicked onto the idea of pimping our data. It's a double win for them - we pay for them to compelling us to give the information and they then sell that information on....

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    some title

    Received the letter monday, still need to fill out the opt-out form.

    There's no way NHS or any guvmuppet will not screw this up, leaving a large amount of patients' details on a train, or on a USB stick outside a pub, or losing them with Royal Fail.

  15. Dr Laurie Miles

    Another GP take on this

    My surgery this morning was considerably delayed by 3 patients who wished to discuss the leters they had received from our PCT. I first informed them that the letter contained a lie (it indicates that a SCR will be formed in May, when in fact the technology locally is not yet available to do this), and that because I do not trust the government to keep the confidentiality of the data sacrosanct, we will NOT be sending ANY data to the SCR for ANY patient.

    Extra points - I as a data controller am liable for any breech of confidentiality of the medical data held in our practice. If I am sending the data to a trusted third party, I would expect that third party to indemnify me against any inappropriate data breech sustained to that data after it left my practice (otherwise I am liable... "Dr Miles, did you know that up to half a million NHS employees would have access to my patient's data after it left your practice?"). The NHS has refused to indemnify practices in this respect.

    Also, the data will be very valuable, and could earn millions for the Government if sold to drug or insurance companies. All it would take is for a future government minister to declare that the data could be sold in this manner, and I could do nothing about it.

    Dr Laurie Miles, GP in St Helens, Merseyside (Bethany Medical Centre)

  16. Anonymous Coward

    Summary Care ?

    Cue the medical questionaire at work with the innocent

    "tick here if you object to the company doctor accessing your summary care record"

    Then when someone complains they can say the requested medical practicioner had consent and therefore a medical relationship and wave the form at em.

    Saying that i'm ok so won't opt out, so anyone who has opted out therefore is suspiciously possible unhealthy and will be looked upon with with appropriate suspicion by the company doctor !!!!!

  17. Anonymous Coward

    Come on biatches sort your act out..

    Not the doctors, YOU.

    You lot always bitch about things being forced on you in the computer world, especially if it is something new - why are you not knocking on the local MP's door or complaining to the EU about this huge personal privacy intrusion?


  18. ElFatbob
    Thumb Down

    @David Ward 1

    You must be a troll, because if you are actually a GP, then your attitude towards your patients is truly disgusting.

    You overpaid, pompous arsehole.

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