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Sheringham Medical Practice

Sheringham Medical Practice

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The National Program for Information Technology (NPfIT)


Patient Information - Changes to your health records - Summary care records


The NHS is planning to introduce a new computerised system for your medical records in the near future. The programme is called NPfIT and the agency responsible for it is "NHS Connecting for Health" (CFH). Recently, a debate has started in the press and other media about its benefits and disadvantages. At Sheringham Medical Practice, we are keen that you understand the basic issues and know how to find out more if you want.

The main consequence of this scheme will be that patients' medical records will be held, or at least accessible by, a national computer, and that access to those records will be available to many more agencies and people than now. Currently, your records are soley held on the practice's own computer system and can only be read by practice staff, who are all bound by a vey strict confidentiality code.

The advantage to the national scheme will be that, for the benefit of the health care of the patient wherever you are, for example in a hospital or at another GP's surgery or by A & E staff and ambulance crews, important data about your medical history, allergies, current medications etc will be instantly available and this will improve the accuracy and quality of any medical care that you may need if you are not at your own surgery. Communications between clinicians will be improved as well.

The disadvantages are (as with any stored computerised information) there are doubts about how tight the restrictions to access your notes will be, and what the NHS will do with the information about you. The government acknowledges these concerns and has already committed to allowing patients to place restrictions on the amount of information that can be viewed and by whom.  The NHS Care record service uses the strongest international security measures available for storing and handling your information. In every place you are treated, there are people responsible for protecting your confidentiality, often called "Caldicott Guardians". 


At this practice we also see the potential benefits of a successful and watertight scheme.  When the scheme is finally introduced, we will have to participate as your notes are the property of the NHS, and so we would want patients to be aware of the scheme and how you can place restrictions, if you wish to do so, in good time.


For the latest information go to www.nhscarerecords.nhs.uk

Other web sites:-

National Campaign encouraging the "Big Opt Out" - http://www.nhsconfidentiality.org

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