Are patients being bullied into joining Summary Care Records?

The Daily Mail suggests in an article published today that NHS Connecting for Health is using scare tactics to dissuade patients from opting out of having a Summary Care Record.

Says the article:

“Are patients being ‘bullied’ by the NHS into joining the Big Brother database?

“The NHS is scaring patients into signing up to its controversial database – by claiming that those who refuse run the risk of receiving the wrong test results or the wrong drugs.”

The article adds that dire warnings have been placed on the website ofNHS Connecting forHealth, which is in charge of the Summary Care Records scheme,  saying thatfailure to sign up could lead to lost records and prescribing errors.


In March I reported on this blog a warning by the NPfIT clinical director that opting out of summary carerecords could be more prejudicial to health than not having a smeartest.
In response to this, Dr Paul Cundy, a member of the BMA’sGP IT subcommittee, said at the time: “The suggestion that people mightdie if they don’t have a summary care record is highly alarmist andinappropriate.”


Thank you to GP Neil Bhatiafor drawing my attention to both these articles:

Thepatients ‘bullied’ into joining NHS database – Daily Mail

NPfITleaflet says national database could save your life – IT ProjectsBlog

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What's the latest with Morecambe Bay Tony? Weren't they supposed to go-live a few days ago?

Kris. As far as I know Morecambe didn't go live at the beginning of May despite a supplier announcement that it would.

Another new go-live date has been set for the coming May bank holiday.

Morecambe is very cautious, understandably, because it doesn't want to treat its patients as guinea pigs, but it's under a lot of pressure to go live.


If - and its a big if - the SCR replaces all the records held in any of the current locations - GP, hospitals, walk-in centres, any other care setting yet to be auctioned off - then, yes, it could be detrimental (if everyone involved consulted your SCR - to your care not to have one - **especially** if you had anything worth considering in it!

However, the initial upload is medications and adverse reactions/allergies: "enrichment" will ocur later , but there are surprisingly few details available on who decides on the details of the upload - and who decides (obviously not the patient) what will be uploaded. There is also no clarity about who controls the flag on the spine to decide whether there will be an automatic upload of your records..

As a GP my advice is:-

1. if you have medical conditions or allergies, **get a Medic Alert bracelet** right away..

2. If you are elderly and with multiple conditions, medications and adverse reactions, don't opt out: once other systems to allow non-GP organisations to access the SCR have been developed and installed in the non-GP systems supplying urgent care, it might be useful.

3. If you are healthy without allergies etc, why not opt out now and make a note to reconsider once a year...?