Patients to see records

editorial image

PATIENTS will be able to see their own medical records thanks to a new scheme which will be piloted in Wigan Borough.

It is hoped that the scheme will help patients understand their own medical history better as well as help them to better manage their own existing medical conditions.

The national trial will be led by a GP practice within Wigan Borough Clinical Commissioning Group (WBCCG) with a view to possibly rolling the scheme out across the country in the future.

John Buttle, IM&T Project Manager with WBCCG, said: “Whilst patient access to medical records is not a new idea it is now part of the NHS National Framework and the government has stated that all patients should have the ability to access their records on-line by the end of this parliament in 2015.

“As part of this drive there is a need to identify the best clinical systems for allowing access to patient records on-line with full confidentiality guaranteed for all patients.”

Leigh Family Practice at The Bridgewater Medical Centre in Leigh are set to lead the national trial of one of the clinical systems TPP Systmone that will help identify a system that could be used on a national basis.

Local GP Dr Neil Forsdyke from Leigh Family Practice said: “We met with our local MP Andy Burnham in June of this year to discuss patient access and the benefits it would bring to both the GP practice and patients.

“Andy was impressed and asked what he could do as the Shadow Secretary for Health; we asked if he would sponsor a room in the House of Commons so we could explain more to other MPs. Andy agreed and the event will be on October 31.

Kelly Vines, Practice Manager for Leigh Family Practice, said: “We are now planning how best to explain the benefits of this exciting project to MPs in the House of Commons with Leigh being at the forefront of a nationally important initiative.”

The move is not the first controversial move to change patient record systems.

Since March academics and private companies from Britain, Europe and North America have been allowed access to patients’ anonymised hospital and GP records through the Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD).

Experts say it allows precise monitoring and faster delivery of new drugs, but opponents say it risks patients’ privacy.