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The UK government is to review the controversial Summary Care Record scheme which aimed to put a basic health record for every citizen onto a central spine.

The project assumed consent and patients who did not want their records added were required to write to their GP.

Health minister Simon Burns wrote to the Local Medical Committees Conference announcing a review of the project. The LMC was poised to back a motion calling on the BMA to formally call for an end to the opt-out system.

The letter said: "Broadly, our view is that we see a need for both patients and clinicians to be able to access patient records in an electronic form. This is part of our thinking about making information transparent and available...

"In relation to the Summary Care Record, we believe the current processes that are in place need reviewing to ensure that both the information that patients receive, and the process by which they opt out, are as clear and simple as possible."

Burns said there needed to be a review of the opt out process, the security of the data and the content of the records.

The letter added: "Reviewing how best to achieve this will be part of the wider project of reviewing how information and technology can best be leveraged within the health service."

Given the National Programme for IT has a headline cost of £12.7bn and the NHS, along with the rest of the public sector, is looking for billions in savings to offset our ballooning budget deficit, this could mean big changes for the whole project. ®

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