Feeds

MPs warned about e-health records

Government 'pressuring' patients to not opt out

High performance access to file storage

The government has been accused of ignoring concerns about the privacy of the NHS e-care record.

Contributors to a hearing of Parliament's Health Select Committee on 26 April 2007 claimed the government is pressuring patients for their information to be included on the Care Record Service.

One claimed that the Department of Health has adopted an attitude of "suppressed hostility" towards patients who choose not to be included in the electronic care record system, NHS patient Andrew Hawker told MPs.

Andrew Hawker, an academic who has written about information systems and described himself as "an NHS patient", warned that the implementation of e-care records should be deferred until core IT systems are fully installed and it has been "thoroughly tested for privacy".

"I feel like a passenger on board a plane," Hawker said. "The plane has not had many test flights, and some of those have crashed. Meanwhile flight attendants are handing out brochures saying how safe it all is."

Further warnings were made by Paul Cundy, chair of the General Practitioners' Joint IT Committee. Cundy said that the summary care record, even in early adopter sites, shows signs of becoming far more than just a "summary" care record.

He said: "This scope creep will create great concern amongst GPs, whose records necessarily contain large amounts of contextually sensitive information."

However, Richard Granger, the director general of IT for the NHS, said he was "alive to the challenges" presented by accessibility and security of e-care records. Only 0.2 per cent of the public who have received literature about e-records, have expressed concerns about the new system, Granger said.

He told the committee that 100 per cent security could not be guaranteed, but since the system was implemented in early adopter sites, there had been only been a couple of incidents of breaches of security.

"One of my great sadnesses about the last three to four years, is that we are unable to record privacy breaches of paper," he said.

Granger also drew attention to the inefficiencies and dangers of using traditional paper records. Official statistics show that the root cause of 27 per cent of medication errors is poor information availability. But the NHS National Programme for IT is replacing paper records with a more reliable means of recording and sharing patient information.

Responding to MPs' concerns about the timeliness of the national programme, Granger that it would be inaccurate to state that the whole programme is late. "Some of it is late, some of it is on time and some of it is early," he told the MPs.

Successes include the delivery of the NHS national network, N3, which was achieved two months ahead of schedule. It now has more than 18,000 connections. Software for the electronic prescription service was delivered to time and budget.

The NHS's centrally managed email systems now has more than 236,000 registered users. In a typical day, GPs across England are using Choose and Book to make more than 16,000 bookings.

"Most of what we set out to do in 2002 will be completed in 2010," Granger said. Already the programme has moved the NHS away from the "lamentable" situation in 2002 of paying £1bn a year for computer systems which were little more than "glorified electronic filing cabinets".

This article was originally published at Kablenet.

Kablenet's GC weekly is a free email newsletter covering the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. To register click here.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
German space centre endures cyber attack
Chinese code retrieved but NSA hack not ruled out
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Big Content goes after Kim Dotcom
Six studios sling sueballs at dead download destination
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
Jack the RIPA: Blighty cops ignore law, retain innocents' comms data
Prime minister: Nothing to see here, go about your business
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.