Should we have more access to our medical records? Norfolk MP George Freeman presents bill to call for more access

MP George Freeman

MP George Freeman - Credit: copyright: Archant 2013

Patients should be able to access and update their medical records online in a move that will lead to a revolution in healthcare with a transformation similar to the effect on personal finance brought about by telephone and internet banking, an MP has said.

Patients should be able to access and update their medical records online in a move that will lead to a revolution in healthcare with a transformation similar to the effect on personal finance brought about by telephone and internet banking, an MP has said.

Tory George Freeman also wants it to be the duty of medical professionals to update and pass on electronic patient records. He claimed the NHS risks becoming a global backwater in the world of health without the changes.

Introducing his Electronic Patient Records (Continuity of Care) Bill, Mr Freeman said patients are more enlightened about their own and their loved ones' medical needs than in the past and so should be able to view their records and make changes or add information such as side-effects and symptoms.

Patients will also be able to use online health apps, such as those which monitor heart and blood pressure, that can automatically upload information on to their records and send it to their clinician.


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Those clinicians and healthcare professionals would then have a duty to keep records up-to-date and ensure records transfer to the next person involved in the patient's care.

The system would mean doctors and carers could instantly track and monitor patients' needs with the most up-to-date information.

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Mr Freeman said the Mid Staffs scandal shows the need for proper monitoring of care and the impact it is having on patients.

Introducing his Bill under a Ten Minute Rule motion, he told the Commons: 'In a few years it will be unimaginable to think of health records and patient monitoring as it is today: paper records, cardboard boxes, partial digitalisation, fragmentation across hospitals and community care a black hole.

'As unimaginable as a world of banking before electronic and telephone banking empowered millions of banking consumers to take more responsibility for their finances. The same revolution is happening in healthcare.

'Without the measures in this Bill there is a clear and present risk of the UK, far from leading in this world of personalised medicine, far from winning in the global race for investment, far from the NHS pioneering new models in the world of healthcare and productivity and patient empowerment, becoming a backwater: talking the talk but not walking the walk.'

Speaking earlier in the Commons, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the Government plans to make it easier for all parts of the NHS, as well as those responsible for providing social care such as nursing homes, to access patients' records.

He said: 'One ... thing we are doing which is really important is that whatever part of the system you are in, doctors, with your permission, can access your GPs' medical records.

'That information is vital in terms of your allergies, your medical history, your previous admissions. Actually, breaking down the barriers that stop that happening is one of the things that hasn't been picked up but is in the GP contract.'

The Bill, which has cross-party support, was brought forward unopposed.

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