letters

The NHS Information Authority is playing a key role in developing the electronic health record, and agrees wholeheartedly with Bob Sang of the Patients Association (letters, 5 July) that it needs to be developed in partnership with patients and citizens.

We are doing just that. Patients have helped us select the 17 pilots for our development programme. They have helped us design and test electronic records in several pilots, and are helping us evaluate the results.

One pilot testing emergency health records includes a public awareness campaign, developed with the community health council, that we will ask patients to help evaluate. In other pilots, looking at giving patients access to their own records, patients are involved at every stage.

We are setting up a reference group of several hundred people, recruited through patient and citizen groups and from the public, covering a range of health and information needs. We plan to consult and involve them in all areas of our work and at every stage. One of the 20 groups approached for recruitment help is the Patients Association.

We welcome suggestions for new and better ways of working in partnership.

Marlene Winfield Head of stakeholder relations, patient and citizens NHS Information Authority