“No decision about me, without me” is the new NHS maxim, reflecting the healthcare system’s plans to give patients access to and control over their healthcare records via the internet. Patients would be assigned usernames and passwords, their records would be available online for reference and updating, and those seeking treatment would be able to research and compare different options.
While patients already have a lot of say over their treatment, the Government plans to extend patients’ control to mental health services and end of life care.
“Patients should have choice at every stage of the journey – where they register with a GP, where they go for tests, who they see for treatment and what care or treatment they receive from any willing provider”, says Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley.
These reforms factor into the budgetary pressures that the NHS is facing. Despite the Health Department being one of the two major Whitehall departments whose budgets aren’t being cut, the ageing population and growing demand for healthcare is putting a strain on the supply of healthcare.
The NHS hopes that by shifting more control to patients that data management will improve. It also hopes that by allowing patients to rate services, hospital standards will improve.
The NHS hopes for this “information revolution” to be complete between 2013 and 2014.