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Nurses divided over record system

Less than half of nurses in the NHS think that electronic records are more effective at protecting patient confidentiality than paper-based systems, according to a survey.

Just 49% of the 1,300 nurses questioned in the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) survey believe electronic patient records are a safer way of storing information, while 52% had not received any IT training in the last six months during working hours.

However, 66% of those polled - all members of the RCN - did admit that electronic patient records would enable them to be more efficient in their jobs. The survey also revealed that 59% think they need extra training.

Chief executive and general secretary of the RCN, Dr Peter Carter, said: "The fact that so many nurses are worried about the security of electronic patient records reflects the need for improved education, training and consultation for staff in this area.

"We know that poor consultation with staff can often result in ineffective IT systems, which fail to deliver the promised improvements, so it is vital that nurses' voices are heard and their opinions taken on board."

Copyright © Press Association 2010

Royal College of Nursing

Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

"In my line of work (community nursing) we have been using electronic records for a few years now. I find this much more useful sharing the electronic records with the GPs. This improves communication all round; however, we do keep paper documentation in all patients' homes" - Joan Macarthur