May 20 2013 Latest news:
Professor Nishi Chaturvedi, researcher at Imperial College London’s International Centre for Circulatory Health, has herself experienced the delays red tape can cause while conducting her study into the links between heart disease and ethnicity
Thursday, June 28, 2012
How would you feel about scientists having access to your medical records if helped with the development of new treatments?
That is an ethical issue currently under debate, and which is explored in the video above.
A damning report from the British Heart Foundation (BHF) has revealed how red tape is strangling medical research that could save lives and the charity is calling on the NHS to open up its data.
The BHF wants scientists it funds at universities and hospitals across the UK to be able to access information on patients.
The report claims that researchers experience delays in gaining permission to access data, uncertainty about the rules governing the process of approval, and an overly complicated system that can slow potentially life-saving discoveries.
According to the BHF report, more than 60 per cent of Londoners would be happy for doctors to share their medical records with health researchers in order to help with the development of new treatments.
Sixty-eight per cent of Londoners would be happy with doctors sharing their entire medical records with health researchers, so long as any information about their identity was replaced with a code held by their doctor or removed altogether.
And more than half of Londoners (57 per cent) were unaware that the type of information in their medical records could help with the development of new treatments.
Professor Peter Weissberg, medical director at the BHF, said: “Our NHS records are a source of potentially life-saving information and give us a unique opportunity to advance the prevention and treatment of heart disease.
“While data protection is clearly an important issue, the researchers we fund say they are caught up in unnecessary and inconsistently applied red tape that slows them down by months or even years, and costs them more in staff time and paperwork.”
Where do you stand on this issue? Add your views below.