Tuesday, 10 April 2007

Health Records

The petition is entitled create a national clearing house for patient data in the NHS and the explanatory notes say
"The NHS data system is a shambles. One hospital cannot see any records from say a GP or a hospital at the moment & if they can get them it's pure luck.

The airline industry has SITA, which connects together the disparate systems of all airlines & airports in the world, translating data into a known format to the recipient.

We petition the PM to impliment a similar system to this for the NHS & abandon any dramatic redesign & rollout of new systems to GPs, Hospitals etc. This will cost much less (if not botched) & work much better"

It would appear that the petitioner has not heard about the NHS "Spine" project. I have, and what I've heard I don't like. I've requested that my records not be included, and written to the health minister and my MP accordingly.

Other people have explained better than I could the whys and wherefores of objecting to this project: The Big Opt Out looks like a splendid explanation.

I have every sympathy with people with unusual problems needing to be able to communicate these to different medics. Medic-Alert bracelets are an excellent solution for some people; others may wish to have, perhaps, letters from their GP to carry with them when away from their usual carers. Other individual solutions are possible, without invading all of our privacy for the sake of nominal convenience for a few.

Two further points: one, the petitioner himself identifies that this might only work "if not botched". Since the government's track record on IT projects being unbotched is so very ... splendid ... I am loath to trust them with any more. And two - a personal anecdote from a practice nurse. Some mini-version of this was wheeled out and staff were requested to test it. An enormous proportion of the searches were on "David Beckham". Mmmmm, trust-worthiness! Respect for privacy! Yummy!!

(I have tagged this as "ID Card" relevant, because of my mental connection between these different projects to database-ise us all.)

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