The NHS is moving steadily towards a national database of centrally held patient records. Patients are able to opt out of their records being held on the database if they wish.  

Concerns exist about patient confi dentiality where the sheer number of people with immediate, unrestricted access to the information will be signifi cant. Those fears have been expressed formally by patient groups and medical practitioners alike. The BMA has written to Mike O’Brien (Minister for Health) with a request that parts of the system are suspended pending further evaluation.  

Careful safeguards will need to be put in place to protect the information.