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Scottish NHS in cervical smear security blunder

Launch put on ice

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The Scottish National Health Service has postponed the launch of a new cervical smear screening system, after concerns were raised about the security of the service during a trial of the system.

According to BMA News, the house magazine for British Medical Association members, Scottish Cervical Call-Recall System (SCCRS), allows anyone with password access - including many admin staff at GP practices taking part in the pilot - to access any Scottish woman's cervical screening records.

Forth Valley GP Brian Keighley said: "This is unacceptable and quite possibly illegal and I don't think GPs should co-operate with this."

The project, is being developed for the NHS National Services Scotland by Atos Origin. NHS NSS says the system will not launch until the problem is solved.

Brian Robson, NHS NSS medical director for eHealth, said: "This is not an acceptable situation. I can give an assurance on behalf of National Services Scotland that SCCRS will not be launched until this is sorted out."

The service was supposed to launch last December, but technical problems have already caused the launched to be pushed back until May of this year. This latest glitch could put that new launch date in doubt.

NHS NSS says no real records have been compromised because the pilot has been run using "existing board systems", essentially, dummy records. ®

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