Observations Border crossing

My illness, my record

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39146.615081.59 (Published 08 March 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:510
  1. Tessa Richards, assistant editor, BMJ
  1. trichards{at}bmj.com

    Full access to personal health records should be a right, not a privilege

    Few doctors would disagree that continuity of care matters, or that recent changes in medical training and practice have reduced it. Those who have escaped the frustration of dealing with a patient who has run the gauntlet of professional opinion and whose notes are “missing” lead a charmed existence.

    Never mind professionals' frustration; what about the patient's? When illness, or fear of it, prompts a patient to consult a doctor, it's often a high stakes event. When the doctor has no access or limited access to the records, and the patient can't provide the relevant details, it's stressful to say the least.

    I speak from the heart. As patient and patient advocate, my medical odyssey has taken me to more than a dozen hospitals and GP surgeries across England over the past three years. Not in pursuit of second opinions, but because of the way we live and the nature of our illnesses. My sons move between school and home; my father's chequered decline has necessitated several moves; …

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