Full patient record access by 2016

PATIENTS should be able to access their full GP medical records online by 2016, the health secretary has announced.

This would let them see not just a summary of allergies and medication, but blood test results, appointment records and medical histories. By 2018 this record will include information from all their health and care interactions.

Speaking at the NHS Innovation Expo in Manchester, Jeremy Hunt said that by the end of the next financial year he wanted to see 15 per cent of NHS patients using smartphone apps to routinely access NHS advice, services and medical records.

He said he also wanted patients to use smartphones to interact with their medical record "whether by recording their own comments or by plugging in their own wearable devices to it."

The Department of Health quoted figures showing 84 per cent of the population use the internet, 59 per cent use a smartphone, but only two per cent have had any digital interaction with the NHS.

He said: "Experience from other countries suggests that opening up access to your own medical record leads to a profound change in culture in a way that is transformative for people with complex or long term conditions."

But he conceded that such schemes increased pressure on data security measures.

"Exciting though this all is, we will throw away these opportunities if the public do not believe they can trust us to look after their personal medical data securely.

"The NHS has not yet won the public’s trust in an area that is vital for the future of patient care.

"Nothing matters more to us than our health, and people rightly say we must be able to assure the security of confidential medical information."