UK doctors have no confidence in NHS database

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Nine out of ten UK doctors have no confidence in the government’s ability to safeguard patient data online, a poll conducted by British Medical Association, BMA News has revealed.

More than 90 per cent of respondents (93 per cent) to the survey said they were not confident patient data on the proposed NHS centralised database would be secure.

A series of recent high-profile data losses, such as the HM Revenue and Customs computer discs containing the details of 25 million child benefit claimants and security breaches during last year’s online training recruitment fiasco for junior doctors, have left doctors sceptical about safety.

Nine out of ten of the 219 doctors who responded to the Doctors Decide poll said they did not feel they were in a position to assure patients that their data would be safe.

More than eight out of ten (81 per cent) said they would not want their surgery data stored on the national NHS ?spine’.

Wiltshire trainee cardiologist Dr Sally Simmons was one of those caught up in the medical training application service security breaches last year. Her personal details became publicly available and could potentially have been used by identity thieves.

She said: ?I have received no apology from the Department of Health despite writing to the former health secretary [Patricia Hewitt]. I was also affected by the loss of the two child benefit CDs with my bank details on them. Not surprisingly, I have no faith in any form of IT security that this government proposes.’

However, Berkshire GP and consultant in family planning Dr Meg Thomas said: ?This will help with continuity of care and communication between primary and secondary care ? There may be a risk but paper records are also going astray. We need to join the 21st century and quick.’

Source: British Medical Association, UK

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