Patients win right to delete their medical summary care records after Commissioner pressure

News by Dan Raywood

Patients have won the right to delete their medical history records.

Patients have won the right to delete their medical history records.


According to a statement by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), published by, patients will be able to demand that their health records are deleted from the massive database being built by the NHS.


A report by the Guardian, featured on yesterday, claimed that patients will be allowed to delete electronic summaries of their treatment records from a new national medical database. Although the Department of Health had resisted pressures to delete records, with officials describing the cost of deleting individual summary care records from the system as ‘prohibitive'.


However the ICO said that it had negotiated the change with Connecting for Health. A statement said: “People want the assurance that they can restrict who can access their personal details in NHS electronic records. We met recently with Connecting for Health to discuss the permanent deletion of summary care records once a patient requests their summary record no longer appears on the database.


“We are pleased that as a result of these discussions [Connecting for Health] have found a way to ensure that these records are permanently removed from the database when appropriate and we are continuing to talk to them about how this is put into practice.”


A spokesperson for the Department of Health told “Following discussions with the Information Commissioner we have now agreed that anyone can now request that their record is deleted. Our early adopter programme was set up precisely so we can learn from emerging issues such as this one.”


However the Department of Health has said that the summary care record would not be deleted if it had actually been used. This was to preserve evidence of activity in case it was needed in the future.




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