Patients will be asked for permission before their Summary Care Record (SCR) is viewed by clinicians or other staff across the NHS, under a new consent model announced this week.
Revising the consent model was considered important following extensive consultation among nurses and doctors and following an independent evaluation of the SCR programme, commissioned by NHS Connecting for Health and provided by University College London (UCL).
The decision to move to a revised consent model was ratified at an NHS Care Records Board meeting on Wednesday (17 September 2008).
Patients will also be able to contribute to their records and record their wishes for how their care is managed through HealthSpace, the secure website that stores patients’ personal health information.
Dr Gillian Braunold, Clinical Director of the SCR and HealthSpace Programme, said: "Ever since we began introducing the SCR in our early adopter PCTs, we have discussed how best to make sure that patients are fully aware and happy to have an electronic record of their key health details.
"The UCL report, which we commissioned, confirmed our view that it was important to change the consent model to simplify it and make it work better for patients and clinicians.
"We have listened to doctors and nurses who have raised concerns about the complexity of the earlier model, and are certain we now have a model which will work across a full range of care situations.
"It will continue to offer patients control over its use, while making it possible to provide safer, better quality care to them."