Patients registered at GP practices in the Haverhill area are being encouraged to complete and sign a form that allows other health professionals to see their health records.
Margaret Marks, a volunteer with the West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group’s (CCG) community engagement team covering Haverhill and Sudbury, says doing so is vital to helping people get the best health care as quickly as possible.
The forms are available at every GP practice and once filled in and signed would give the likes of hospital clinicians, paramedics and district nurses the right to access the patient’s records.
Mrs Marks, who is also a St Edmundsbury Borough councillor for Haverhill, said: “They need to go to the surgery to pick up the document for every member of their family.
“Please pick it up and fill it in and sign it and take it back.
“Being able to access that data quickly will be invaluable to being able to treat that patient quickly and make sure that the treatment you get is the best treatment for you.” Although the forms are made available to all new patients registering at surgeries, they have not been filled in by thousands of already registered patients.
The Haverhill area is way behind, added Mrs Marks, in getting patients to complete the form and the CCG is now being pressed by NHS England to change that.
Once filled in, the forms will only permit staff that are currently involved in a patient’s direct care to see their record.
Patients can permit wider access for health care workers to either a summary of their medical history or to their full health record, depending on which box they tick.