Dick Vinegar writes on the Guardian web site:
Who would have thought it, the Department of Health is encouraging NHS organisations “to accelerate creation of summary care records (SCRs), with the aim of having them in place for most patients by 2013-14″. And 9m records have already been uploaded. This is a miracle.
At the general election 18 months ago, both Conservatives and LibDems were equating the SCR with the satanic identity card as a monstrous unmanageable database, and were vowing to abolish it. (And when they came to power as the coalition, they did abolish the identity card.) For some years before, Dr Ross Anderson of Cambridge University had been campaigning against the SCR on security grounds, and had won the ear of the British Medical Association. A bit later, Dr Trisha Greenhalgh wrote a magisterial academic report on the SCR’s shortcomings. With the government, academia and the BMA against it, the SCR was clearly doomed.
Yet, here we are, 18 months later, with government ministers saying how important the SCR is to patient care. And 70% of out of hours doctors say it enhances patient safety. What has happened to create this U-turn?
The cynics will say that the SCR project has cost so much that it has to be continued. Another version is that the nay-sayers have not come up with an alternative to the SCR – as nay-sayers habitually fail to do – and so ministers have decided to go with the devil that has already been paid for, rather than launch a whole new scheme from scratch.
Dick Vinegar writes in his “Pateient from Hell” blog at the Guardian:
I sometimes feel I am on my own in arguing that the Summary Care Record, handled properly, would increase my own safety and that of most other patients. I see myself as a gallant little fighter against the serried ranks of clinical SCR-naysayers, security obsessives and 19th century-style doctor/patient confidentiality ostriches.
Tom Peck, writing in the Independent, has collated 29 comments from various pundits about this week’s riots & looting. He reports that David Aaronovitch wrote in The Times:
A certain kind of right-winger fits the riots into the pattern of moral and social decline that she imagines has afflicted British society since the 1950s … Vicars blame materialism. I … rail against identity-obscuring head and facewear and am inclined to demand more CCTV and a rethink of the scrapping of identity cards.
However, Mr Aaronovitch is the only one to say that identity cards might somehow be relevant here.
Helen Gibson writes in Progress magazine:
One of the first coalition policies to be announced in 2010 was a plan to grant anonymity to men accused of committing rape. This had not been a policy in either the Tory of Liberal Democrat manifesto, and yet appeared to be cooked up by the cabal of eight white men who drew up the coalition agreement. Mercifully, with a lot of lobbying from women MPs and women’s organisations the plans were dropped. Women do not seem to be safe however, as, month after month, new proposals are introduced which threaten to turn back the clock on women’s rights, and even our safety, with alarming consequences.
The latest announcement is that the government will force police to stop holding the DNA of those arrested for rape, but not charged. The naive presumption, one assumes, is that the government believes if you are not charged you are therefore not guilty. However, Ed Miliband highlighted at PMQs this week, that of the 5,000 every year who are arrested but not charged, many of them go on to reoffend, only being caught because their DNA is stored on the national database. Given the disgracefully low rape attrition and conviction rates in this country, nothing must be done that limits or decreases the numbers of men being convicted and sent to prison. The government’s policy would do precisely that.