Civil Evidence Act 1995 and changing GP systems

Mary Hawking maryhawking at
Mon Aug 9 08:40:07 BST 2010

GPs were allowed to keep their patient records electronically by Statutory
Instrument in 2000, and the law that allowed the electronic EPR in evidence
was the Civil Evidence Act of 1995.


GP practices change systems over the years, sometimes several times, and
patients move between practices: some systems only transfer the records of
current patients - i.e. if a patient leaves the list the day before the data
is downloaded for transfer to the new GP system, the only place that the
record will be preserved is on that practice's old system.(apart from any
print-outs or GP2GP record transfers which lack audit trails).


How does the CEA deal with computer evidence when the
organisation/individual concerned has changed systems - and does anyone have
any references to cases which might be relevant to the GP situation?

The additional twist in GP records is that for an infant at birth, problems
can be raised up to 3 years after the age of maturity - or indefinitely if
the infant is sufficiently damaged to never reach mental competence.


Genuine enquiry - topic was raised regarding GP records and keeping a copy
of the database in an old system: I don't think it has been decided in court
- yet - so I wondered whether there was non-medical case law which might be


Mary Hawking


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