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Health records get clean bill of health

'Awareness campaigns' planned for unsuspecting patients

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A government review of the controversial Summary Care Records (SCR) scheme has found no compelling reason to abolish the project.

But the coalition government has accepted the need to limit what information is held on the files.

Health Minister Simon Burns is also asking that in future letters sent to patients warning them when an SCR is created for them will include a form - and prepaid envelope - for patients who wish to opt out of the project.

Information on the file will be limited to that needed by doctors and nurses for immediate treatment.

But doctors will not be writing to the three million people who already have records. Instead there will be "awareness raising campaigns at local, regional and national levels".

Some three million records have already been loaded onto the system and 30 million patients have received their letters.

The review ruled letters sent to patients in future should be simpler and include an opt-out form.

Doctors have expressed concern that the records are not accurate enough to be relied on in emergencies. Researchers from the University of London found doctors were not relying on the records because they did not trust them to be accurate.

Full Department of Health statement is here. ®

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