An interesting article in Pulse shows that according to a recent survey around a third of patients are surprised that their GP records are not automatically available to any medical professional who is providing treatment to them.
A YouGov survey that assessed the knowledge and opinions of more than 2,300 people has shown that around 85 per cent believe that all healthcare professionals should have access to patient records held by a GP. Almost three quarters of respondents stated that they believe this would prevent errors from occurring as well as reduce the frustration of having to repeat information. There is also strong concern that A&E medical professionals cannot access GP records, and around two thirds of respondents feel this could cause potentially life-threatening delays.
The CEO of the EMIS Group said that the results of this survey show that most patients want all medical professionals to be able to access their information readily. Moreover, most people thought that this was already happening.
However, issues of patient confidentiality have prevented this from occurring so far. Efforts have been made with the Summary Care Record and there are a number of initiatives in place to improve communications, but data sharing between the various medical service providers is not happening as a matter of course. At the present time, medical professionals in A&E and other services still need to request records or ask patients to provide this information themselves, and there is still a great deal of progress to be made in improving access to medical records.
The comments to this article are interesting. You have to wonder – if 85% of the public thought that there is already access by any medical professional, who were the public who objected so strongly to sharing of their GP records?
In private practice there is still no access to NHS patient records, so we are reliant on adequate GP referral information, or information from patients themselves.