Pressure mounts on NHS IT scheme

Although Britain's political system has been in stasis for the past five weeks (and looks likely to remain that way for the foreseeable future) a number of recent stories and columns have highlighted a growing resentment in the mainstream media towards the National Programme for IT (otherwise known as the Government's new-fangled NHS IT scheme).

Medicalrecords A superb example of this trend is an article written by Philip Johnston last week – prompted by the release of the terrific film Erasing David – in which Philip comprehensively deconstructs Connecting for Health and urges his readers to opt out.

Now the Mail on Sunday has entered the fray, yesterday running an article about the bully-boy tactics of the Summary Care Record 'opt out' form, which lists a series of unfounded and scaremongering consequences that could result if we try and avoid going onto the system:

The NHS is scaring patients into signing up to its controversial database – by claiming that those who refuse run the risk of receiving the wrong test results or the wrong drugs.

Dire warnings have been placed on the website of the agency in charge of the new IT system, saying that failure to sign up could lead to lost records and prescribing errors.

On Sunday night, a Department of Health spokesman said the problem of lost records or mistreatment was not a major concern, prompting speculation that the Government was making the claim to frighten patients into joining the database.

This form has been around for quite a while, but the Mail highlighting its pernicious presence is welcome and adds to the pressure mounting on the entire scheme. Massive credit should also go to the British Medical Association (BMA) for their efforts in revealing that patients were having their records uploaded onto the system without their consent.

With this sort of negative press, it surely is only a matter of time before a new government (however it looks) makes the right decision and puts an end to this ridiculous scheme.

By Dylan Sharpe