Online access to patient records has 'clear confidentiality issues', health minister says

Giving patients access to their records online will have 'clear confidentiality issues' but the government still aims to roll such a scheme out by 2015, health minister Earl Howe has said.

Lord Howe: 'We cannot have a system that is open to breaches of security'

Last week the GPC warned that making patient records available online could open them up to abuse and potentially harm patients.

Despite recognising potential confidentially issues, Lord Howe said in a House of Lords debate that he was confident that the DH would achieve its goal of making records available online by 2015.

Lord Howe said: ‘There are several objectives around our wish to see more patients having access to their records, not only to enable them to order repeat prescriptions and make appointments with their GPs online, which many practices already enable, but also to access their own personal health records where they wish to do so.’

‘This, too, is a work in progress. Noble Lords do not need me to tell them that there are clear confidentiality issues involved in this area. What we cannot have is a system that is open to breaches of security. However, work is going on with the RCGP and the BMA on that point.’

He added: ‘We have said that it is our ambition that everyone should be able to access their GP records online by 2015. That is the ambition and we think that it is achievable.’

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