Medical records may be ‘shared around’

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Concerns have been voiced about plans for patients’ medical records to made available to people outside their GP practice.

A letter sent to patients registered at Biggleswade Health Centre warns them that ‘personal medical information that you share with your GP or other healthcare professional is about to be extracted and stored on a computer outside of the control of this practice.”

Patients are asked whether they aware of this, and whether they know that ‘the practice will have no say on who has access to that information.’

The letter includes an opt-out form that patients can sign if they want to prevent their data from leaving the practice.

The plans are part of the new national care.data scheme from the NHS.

But there are concerns that some patients may miss the letter or not read it and will not be aware of the plans.

Patient Peter Wicks, who lives in Langford and has been registered at the centre for 18 years said: “This is very worrying as people’s private medical records and information could end up being seen by any old Tom, Dick or Harry.

“Records may be seen by insurance companies who will then be contacting patients about taking out policies.”

A spokesperson for the Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group said: “Care.data is a national programme and is a means of sharing patient data across the NHS to ensure better, safer outcomes for patients.

“Patients can opt out of the programme if they wish. Their data remains stored securely within the health system.”