We live in an ever changing world and much of this is down to the technology that we have. “Brilliant” I hear our avid supporters say as this is what makes it possible to bring us this website. That is just it, we can alert you to things brought to our attention! We have been alerted by our members that many people are unaware that the Care.data Programme that has recently been put on hold for 6 months is very different to the NHS Summary Care Records.
So what is a a Summary Care Record? A Summary Care Record is an electronic record which contains information about the medicines you take, allergies you suffer from and any bad reactions to medicines you have had etc etc.
Having this information stored in one place makes it easier for healthcare staff to treat you in an emergency, or when your GP practice is closed. This information can be made available wherever you are which has to be a good thing, after all it could be disasterious if you were taken ill while in another town or county to be given medication that is not compatable with those you may already be taking, all because you were unable or did not realise how important it could be to you. Frightening! Summary Care Records are held electronically & securely and only accessible to healthcare staff involved in your care and they have to be accessed via Smartcard with a chip and pass code (like a bank card and PIN). You can find out if your records are held on this system. To read more visit- http://www.nhscarerecords.co.uk/
But many people are saying “I thought this is what the Care.data programme was all about” Be warned think again. The good news is the programme has been put on hold for 6 months. This has to be a plus that a programme that was supposed to be going “live” shortly, when only 29% of the poplulation received a poorly produced leaflet informing them of government plans for this. However,It must also be said any scheme headed up “Better information means better care” has to be a move in the right direction!
Clearly reading into both, this is a very different / new computer database from that described above and there has been much in the press and TV in the last two weeks about the scheme. The reason for this is, it is not just about sharing information between those who care for you but others as well and that raises many concerns and issues for many of people. There has to be merit in an NHS system that wants to know about age groups etc affected by heart attacks, stroke, eye conditions… in order to advance but when it comes down to information being shared between pharmaceutical companies and the possible selling on of data to others enabling access to your information, then caution is paramount. Will this result in “cold calling” to sell insurances for health and care packages etc.
To get out of the Care.data programme you must “opt out”. Many GP practices have produced a leaflet and form to sign giving you the opportunity to “opt out” of the system but read the wording carefully! Reportings to us give evidence that GP practices are producing different wording ie look and see -does yours use the wording “all “ “personal” “confidential” which your medical records are. Consider inserting these words if you think it is important. Remember, if you decide to opt out now, you can opt back in at a later date if the way the scheme scheduled to operate is changed and you are happy with it- so why alert you to this? Well the system as it stands does not ask for your name but it does ask for nhs number, gender, age group and postcode. That surely must mean, it would not take rocket science for you to be identified. If you want to find out more have a read of these http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/doctors-raise-fears-over-sharing-nhs-patient-records-9133807.html
The decision is yours but don’t expect your Gp to ask do you want to be in it or not, after all money could be realised by selling on your data at some point. SDN is not going to influence you, our members either way but feel it is important enough for us to alert you! The decision is yours. Look out for further updates.