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Bolton Care Records Pilot

This morning the BBC followed up on previous reports on the summary care record pilot in Bolton. The piece was generally supportive but the customary GP expressed concerns about the security of information on a national system compared to that held locally.

Such concerns are not fully addressed by technical security, as I have previously argued, secure human systems are also essential. When I was young the escapologist Harry Houdini was a hero of mine. When asked why he found it so easy to escape from the most secure of safes, he answered it was because they were designed to prevent people from getting in not getting out. Recent events show even though getting in to secure IT systems may be difficult, taking large amounts of data out is not.

People need to decide if the benefits of an online record outweigh the risks and in the Bolton pilot they can opt out if they think they do not. But eventually we should all be given sufficient information to make that decision ourselves.

Some may want their GP to be their advocate in such matters, and some may not. When I registered with my GP I was not given an option to opt out of having my information stored locally on his IT system, which at least 7 other people in the practice can access.

Also read this article in the Manchester Evening News about the theft of patient-based information on a computer from the Royal Bolton Hospital.

I wish you a happy and successful New Year.


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