Seeing your medical records in the NHS App
From 31st October 2023, anyone aged 16 or over using the NHS App can see any new information relating to their healthcare.
This also applies to those using the NHS login system through the NHS website or any other online access system, such as Patient Access that we use at Brunton Park Health Centre.
What you might see
When we talk about ‘medical records’, we often talk about things like prescriptions, appointments, allergies, or possible test results.
But medical records can be a lot more detailed than that. Here are some examples:
- Records of consultations with Doctors, Nurses, or other clinical staff, including any free text notes added.
- Your coded record – markers identifying you as having a health condition or other criteria, plus any free text.
- Test results, potentially including diagnoses, if you have been referred to a specialist.
- All documents related to your health, such as letters to and from third parties like counselling services or insurance providers.
Let’s look at some examples that could be difficult or upsetting for patients:
- A letter from a specialist to a GP confirming a diagnosis. The letter is written factually and to the point, with the intention of the Doctor delivering the news in person where they can provide support and empathy. Without that context, the letter could be very upsetting or scary.
- A coded record, shorthand, abbreviation or jargon in free text. Without any explanation, this could lead to confusion or distress.
- A letter from a counselling or mental health service to a GP that describes a traumatic event in a patient’s past. It may be distressing for a patient to see the details repeated.
We have taken steps to avoid making inappropriate information available when the automatic switch on happened, including redacting third-party data where necessary.
However, there are other risks that we cannot mitigate without help from patients.
As we noted last year, there are concerns around the safeguarding of vulnerable adults and children and the risk of harm if patient information is revealed to a third party under coercion or threat.
Deleting the NHS App will not prevent this data from being visible if another person has your login details.
If this is a concern for you, do not hesitate to get in touch with us.
If you don’t want prospective access to your health records, please contact us to request it be shut off.
Patients also have the option to choose whom the NHS uses their information in planning and research. You can read more about that data-sharing choice and set your preference on the NHS website or the NHS app.