Access to Medical Records

Dear Hersham Surgery Patients

Following the recent coverage in the media you may be aware that NHS England have determined that from 01 Nov 22 all patients should have complete prospective access to their medical records, with surgeries being required to enable this en masse. This instruction also includes automatically provisioning prospective access for patients who turn 16 years of age.

We are currently providing access in a manner that we determine to be safe. We take our time to remove third-party data in order to minimise the risk of data breaches pertaining to other individuals named in patient records. Hersham Surgery have always supported the principle of patient access for our patients.

As a surgery we have significant concerns about the risks relating to safeguarding of vulnerable adults and children, and the risk of harm (up to and including loss of life, particularly femicide) that may result if/when patient data is revealed to third parties under coercion or threat. Our patient safety is our priority. Under the current system when a patient moves surgery there is no guarantee that any redaction will transfer over, thus increasing risk. We have raised these concerns with NHS England, as have our neighbouring practices and other practices across the country. Unfortunately we have yet to receive a satisfactory response.

We therefore regret to advise that, in light of the current lack of ability to enable mass patient access to notes electronically, we are unable to comply with NHS England’s plan, for fear of the consequences to our most vulnerable patients. We WILL continue to enable individual-level patient access upon request. With this method we can be sure patient notes concerned have been appropriately and safely amended to remove third party data.

We trust in your understanding in this matter and are happy to discuss this with any patients as needed.

Thank you for reading

Hersham Surgery