BCS concern over patients' medical records amendment

7 March 2003

BCS has expressed concern over a proposed change to government plans which will deny NHS patients the right to amend their medical records.

Speaking in her capacity as Head of the BCS Health Informatics Committee Policy Task Force, Jean Roberts believes that Health Secretary Alan Milburn plans to renege on a previous government pledge allowing patients the right to amend inaccurate facts or opinions held on their medical records.

BCS believes that health professional and patient confidence in the new computerised health records system would be undermined if such a decision were made as this would be contrary to the basic NHS principles of data quality, as well as the Data Protection Act. The BCS HIC supports the concerns expressed by the Campaign for Freedom of Information, in particular the lack of transparency of the discussion process and that the new proposals seem to be breaking clear commitments previously made.

Jean Roberts concludes that "inaccurate records could potentially lead to errors in individual patient care and the Secretary of State for Health should ensure that the Health Records and Data Protection Review Group take into account the development of Integrated Care Record Systems and other relevant developments within policy documents such as 'Delivering 21st century IT support for the NHS.' "

For further information please contact the BCS Press Office.