'Passports to practise'-

a 'log book'to protect the public Junior doctors across three NHS regions are to be equipped with 'passports to practise'- electronic smart cards providing potential employers with evidence of employment history, qualifications and health status.

The cards, invented by Dr Stuart Miller and pioneered at Hammersmith Hospital where he is director of occupational medicine, could also provide details of any criminal convictions or professional disciplinary action.

They will be piloted in London, South West and West Midlands regions from the autumn.

Dr Miller told HSJ that with access, safety and data protection issues resolved, the cards could become a 'log book'of an entire career and protect the public.

'If Harold Shipman's drug conviction as a junior doctor had been known to the health authority, he would never have been allowed to go into single-handed practice - he would have been forced to join a group practice where the high death rate would have been picked up much earlier, 'he said.