People should be given free online access to their medical records and should be able to download their medical history and view prescription and appointment details, according to the recommendations made by the NHS Future Forum, which is advising the Government on its health reforms.
The Government has given a strong indication that it is supportive of the new recommendations. Health minister Earl Howe said, "We fully support NHS patients having online access to their personal GP records. Our vision for a modern NHS is to give patients more information and control over their health. That's why the independent NHS Future Forum have continued to listen specifically on this issue and how we make it a reality for patients."
Currently patients can ask their GP for access to their records, but are required to give a valid reason for doing so.
The Patients Association said this initiative would help people who are having difficulty persuading medical professionals to allow them access to their records, but stressed that it is important to maintain patient confidentiality. Chief executive of The Patients Association, Katherine Murphy said, "There must be a guarantee that all patient data will be protected and that it will not be possible to trace back information to an individual."
These new reforms are expected to be implemented within 3-years.