back to article ALL NHS patient records online by 2015

The nation’s medical records are going online by 2015 as part of a consumerisation of the NHS under a digital strategy unveiled today. Blighty's health service patients’ medical records will be made available online "securely" in three years’ time under the NHS Information Strategy. Patients will be able to view and refer to …


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  1. Tzael

    How much is this going to cost?

    Given CSC's failure to unify patient records it's going to be interesting to see if this turns out to be another black hole to funnel the country's funds in to. Then again the government may simply force all PCTs or CCGs, and therefore all hospitals and GPs to use software from one of EMIS, INPS or TPP. Therein lies the problem though, if you force use of a particular solution then you are met with resistance if it's not already in place.

    1. Steven Perez

      Re: How much is this going to cost?

      Its going to cost Billions. again ... BTW: it was BT's £680 job to build a central DB, it was called Spine. They tried to force all GP's to abandon EMIS, they have no chance with that one.

      1. Justicesays

        Re: How much is this going to cost?

        It wont cost much at all.

        New Facebook profile created for everyone who doesn't already have one, new NHS records section (shared to everyone by default ofc.), and Zuckerberg will do it for free so that Pfizer, Glaxo etc. can target drugs directly at you and your GP (who will have to be in your friends list to see your records).

        Looks to be the UKGov strategy, and then they can use that Facebook login to give to access to the Digital by Default project like they wanted to all along. Double Win

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How much is this going to cost?

      PCTs don't exist any more, CCGs have no control over anyone; they're just purchasing groups, they don't run any services (most of them are just rebranded PCTs with the management/accountability roles removed). Hospitals exist as independent foundation trusts and primary care providers are also now independent, devolved to fragmented care trusts or privatised by Virgin et al.

      The body you'd want to do this kind of job was the Strategic Health Authority, supra-regional bodies intended to allow trusts to work together, particularly on public health management and big capital expenditures, and to provide a point of accountability between the trusts and the DoH.

      You probably won't be surprised to discover this evil fountain of red tape, hobbling our glorious private healthcare industry, has also been absolished.

      Simply put, Lansley might want all patient records digitised and cloudified by 2015, but he has no way of doing it. Hell, if he'd had his way the H&SCB would have even removed his ability to issue such a directive; only through the lords rebellion was the health secretary's role as guarantor, supervisor + director of the nhs maintained - he wanted it all passed to Monitor.

      So, you've got this mish-mash of private providers doing NHS work, NHS care trusts, of GPs and of independent foundation hospitals, with no supervisory or even cooperation mechanism between them. This will destroy the NHS's efficiency (and it is supremely efficient) in the long term (you'll see this when the NHS needs to start replacing MRI scanners en masse in a year or two), but immediately speaking in this case, there's just no way to get everyone to buy into this.

      Even assuming Lansley did, somehow, get every health provider in the country (because remember there's no difference between the NHS providers and private ones now, cheers Andy) on board with this, they've all been using disparate, independently contracted IT and records systems for going on 15 or 20 years now. They're all proprietary and locked down. It would cost an absolute fortune to try and convert all of that to some common format for unified storage. It just isn't doable with the current NHS structure (or lack thereof) and the current health secretary.

  2. SamuelB

    Lazy journalism. Choice is ingrained in the system now.

    It is very unfair to say that there isn't much choice in the NHS - since 2006 every English NHS patient has had the choice to have any elective procedure undertaken at any NHS hospital in England which provides that service. I can't think of many other industries where so much choice is actually available.

    1. Intractable Potsherd

      Re: Lazy journalism. Choice is ingrained in the system now.

      That depends what you mean by "choice". Whilst the any-hospital scheme is good in principle, I'm not sure that is what the author meant.

  3. Steven Perez


    G-Cloud and CloudStore -- LOL --

    It will be EDS, Accenture, CSC et all eating at this table.

    Anyway its an utterly ridiculous story. There is no way the NHS is going to scratch thier own arse before 2015.

  4. Graham Wilson

    Rich vs Hoi Polloi.

    The rich will be able to avoid this privacy invasion, it seems not so the hoi polloi.

  5. kain preacher

    On the Reg I constantly hear about UK gov IT programs turning in to a money pit and nothing coming out of it. I have some questions. How many successful IT projects do happen in the UK ? I would also be curious to see if the rest of Europe has the same problem. I don't know if it's the media or the threat of the feds kicking in the doors but I don't hear of this many screws in America on the federal level. It's usually the local governments that screw it up. Then again over here in America land the federal government can walk away from boondoggle projects. No poison pill prevision. Just walk away and the contractor has no recourse

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ALL NHS patient records online by 2015

    Including those who opted out last time around?

  7. David 155

    Its about time

    Welcome to the 21st century, NHS. Fed up with ringing appointment lines that are only open when venus aligns with jupiter and it beggars belief that paper systems are still in use. Should have been sorted years ago.

  8. Kubla Cant

    ALL NHS patient records online by 2015

    Shouldn't that read "ALL NHS patient records left in the pub on a laptop by 2015"?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: ALL NHS patient records online by 2015

      shall we place bets now, odds 1000000 to 1 against?

    2. andreas koch

      Re: ALL NHS patient records online by 2015

      or faxed somewhere at random.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Every NHS patient will be able to say that "no decision about me was made without me".

    How about the decision that was made about all my records going online WITHOUT ME OR MY CONSENT!?

    I wonder how long it'll be till i read on the reg that some imbecile has lost x thousand or forgotten x security measure, or better yet, "NHS Patient Records DB Hacked"

  10. tomjol

    How long before they're hacked, stolen and widely distributed?

    I give it about five minutes.

    Oh no wait, maybe eight. Yeah, eight sounds about right.

    What a fucking joke.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why records will available online

    To simplify things for the NHS piratisers such as Virgin and Cherie Blaire's outfit.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't get it ? I've been hospitals that were locked down so tight you can't even fax or copy with out a valid hospital email account. Forget about even being able to use USB sticks. How is it that the NHS lose so much patient data ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Because people who are allowed access are just as stupid as the rest of us

  13. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Are they f***ing joking?

    That is all.

  14. Nigel 11

    It's all a ghastly plan ...

    ... to make sure that anyone suffering from any, er, embarassing condition, takes himself or herself to a private clinic rather than getting treated on the NHS. Because it will soon be common knowledge that anything you've been treated for on the NHS will be public knowledge available to your spouse or to your prospective employer in exchange for a few tenners in some dodgy pub.

    But if you think them knowing about your easily cured STD is bad enough, just think about the possibility of being made unemployable for life because one of your parents has been diagnosed with a slowly fatal incurable disease that you have a one in four chance of having inherited. Or that you're the parent, and you want to spare your kids until they are a bit older.

    Happy goldfish bowl ....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's all a ghastly plan ...

      And you SERIOUSLY think the private providers are any better? They just don't tell the ICO when the data DOES go missing.

      It also costs REAL MONEY to train staff in InfoSec policies, so they don't really tend to bother for fear of affecting the bottom line.

  15. Alan Firminger

    About ten years ago when the Blair's eye catching initiative was stalling for the fourth time an obscure Tory MP stood up in the House of Commons and said "The way to do this is to define the communication protocols and leave the rest to purchasers and providers." I think the MP's name was Andrew Lansley. I agreed then and agree still.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      And I think you've just made this up.

  16. the J to the C

    here we go yet again

    Government does not do good IT for a simple reason, its not the provider, it’s not even the government it’s simply the business. Having worked in government projects there is a simple rule of thumb the cost of the project will be a multiple of 100 times the real world cost. I was part of an audit of a £250M government project and we accessed the project to be really worth £5M. you might ask you why the difference, this comes from fear, really fear, the people who define requirements fit into two camps, the first is that they don’t have the intellect to understand what they are asking for and the second being that they don’t want to be put in a position to make a call that so procrastinate for ever until they are forced to say this is what I want, both result in gold plated requirements where the cost for implementation is far in excess anything that the business world would agree to. I really can explain how fearful these users are.

  17. Homer 1

    Oh goodie!

    ALL NHS patient records online by the 1st of January 2015.

    ALL NHS patient records offline by the 2nd of January 2015.

    ALL NHS patient records in a stolen laptop on eBay by the 3rd of January 2015.

  18. Qu Dawei

    Yes, Health Minister

    Given past histories:

    (a) It is wishful thinking and will just be another money-sink

    (b) It won't work in the way they want.

    (c) Nevetheless, all NHS records will be online by 2015, though it will be a result of their usual lax security, because they will appear on the version of wikileaks that operates then.

  19. I think so I am?

    If at first you don't succeed...

    ......spend a few billion and fail again.

    Smiley face because I'm an optimist.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    "imaginative solutions"

    Okay then. Microsoft Excell it is.

  21. MattBrain


    In the "How much will the ICO fine local authorities within the next year" sweepstake, I am going for £100,000.

  22. SteyBrae

    Lazy journalism (take 2)

    When will the buffoons who write about "The nation’s medical records" and "the NHS" and "Blighty's health service patients’ medical records" take on board the fact that all this applies only to England. As far as I am aware, the plans mentioned do not apply to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Big Job

    It is an enormous job. The average patient folder is around 100 leaves of mainly duplex, largely manuscript paper comprising maybe seven years worth of material. A 'medium sized' primary care trust with 750k patients can therefore be expected to have 2000 tonnes of patient records. The English records would probably occupy enough shipping containers to load two or three large ships.

    Until someone accepts that digitizing this lot is either (a) not worth it or (b) necessitates a military/industrial scale operation and most importantly (c) that (a) and (b) are not ends of a spectrum but the only two practical strategies, this is doomed to failure.

    Even Google books is dwarfed by the size of this scanning operation. It's not impossible but no company currently possesses the scanning capacity required. Many of those who reckon they have a solution have bug-ridden, overly complex software encumbered by costly restrictive licences and glacial performance, and believe that the scanning itself can be outsourced. Did I mention that nobody currently has this capacity?

    The focus on the software, when 80% of the required functionality could be met with a PDF reader and a well-organized file system, and the remaining 15% with a small team of programmers, is ridiculous. The big job here is simply that of scanning the stuff.

    Anon for once because - well how do you think I know these things?

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