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Dr Sarah Wollaston MP, Chairman, Health Select Committee


Press Release Hunt must modernise NHS’s “1950s-style health records”, says think-tank 2020Health

Just one in 100 NHS practices are providing patients with electronic health records, despite evidence showing that patients who take up the service - known as Personal Health Records - secure better health outcomes.

The independent think-tank, 2020Health, has conducted research into the take up of Personal Health Records, which allow patients to manage their own health details. Patients can access their health records anywhere in the world and bolster their understanding of any existing conditions.

The conclusions of the research are being exclusively revealed in a report on Tuesday 18th September at a roundtable in Westminster called ‘Personal Health Records – Putting patients in Control?’.

The report will highlight how Personal Health Records can save lives. If a man from Yorkshire who had taken up the service had an accident whilst holidaying in Wales, NHS staff would immediately have access to any prior conditions or allergies.

2020Health’s report revealed that where electronic health records are provided, the service is well liked by patients. However, public perception remains a big barrier to uptake, with many patients unfamiliar or sceptical about the government storing their health records online.

John Cruickshank who authored the report said:

“The first heart transplant was in 1967 and at the time a radical embrace of newly available technology. Since then, thousands of heart transplants are performed flawlessly every year. The message is clear: new technology has the capacity to save lives.

“People use the internet for banking, learning, business and more besides. Management of healthcare online must be next. What we need is a cultural change: patients need to move from being passive recipients of care to being much more involved in its planning and management.

“We cannot cling to a system that has more in common with the 1950s than the twenty-first century. The evidence increasingly suggests that patients who engage with healthcare online enjoy far better health outcomes.”

Significantly, the benefits of electronic records access are most palpable to those living with chronic conditions or disability, whose care accounts for 70 per cent of all NHS spending.

The report will put pressure on the new Health Secretary, Mr Jeremy Hunt, to speed-up the government’s drive to maximise the benefits of using new technology in the health service.

Currently, the Department for Health has projected an uptake rate of 5 per cent by 2015, yet the report suggests that significant work is needed in terms of infrastructure and cultural changes to reach even this modest goal.

Dame Helena Shovelton, 2020Health Chairman “Our work generally confirmed that where already provided, electronic access facilities are well liked by patients. The evidence points towards an increase in patient knowledge, communication and satisfaction. Even seemingly small things, like booking an appointment and ordering a repeat prescription, are valuable to patients.”

The roundtable ‘Personal Health Records – Putting patients in Control?’ is taking place on September 18th at 2:30 – 4:00 in the Abbey Room at Church House, Conference Centre Westminster, Dean’s Yard, Westminster, SW1P 3NZ. All media are invited to attend.

Note to Editors

1. For interviews, comment or further information please contact John Cruickshank on 0203170 7702 or Andrew Collinson on 07592 979054.

2. is an independent, grassroots, think-tank passionate about creating a healthy society. We identify issues and bring informed people together to create these solutions. Please visit for more information and full publications.

3. The full report will be released on September 18th 2012. The report was sponsored by an unrestricted educational grant from Microsoft. The views expressed in the report are those of the authors.

Personal Health Records FAQ's (PDF, 241 KB)

Download 'Frequently Asked Questions and Answers on Personal Health Records'

Literary and Evidence Review on Personal Health Records (PDF, 659 KB)

This document summarises the 2020health literary evidence review undertaken in May 2012 in preparation for our report. The content represents our interpretation of the evidence and should not be regarded as a comprehensive academic systematic review.

BBC Radio Northampton

28.8.12 - Julia Manning discusses Electronic Health Records with Helen Blaby