Doctors, IT managers and suppliers have given strong support to the NHS’ personal health record platform, HealthSpace, in a poll organised by E-Health Insider and

In a survey on the future of electronic health records in England, 81% of readers and 90% of EHI readers said the further development of HealthSpace was preferable to letting commercial companies develop similar products.

In the run-up to the publication of the Independent Review of Health and Social Care IT that the Conservatives commissioned, it was widely reported that the party was in favour of letting patients store records with Microsoft HealthVault or Google Health.

It also emerged that the further development of HealthSpace had been halted. Despite this, the team behind HealthSpace has been running consultations on the kind of functionality that professionals and patients would find useful.

Dr Gillian Braunold, the clinical director of HealthSpace, said she was delighted by the survey’s support. “It’s a joy to my heart,” she said. “It also matches what I am hearing anecdotally.

“I think it is fantastic that people don’t want Google or HealthVault coming in. The NHS is a body that people trust. They have confidence that it will not exploit their information.” and E-Health Insider polled readers on the future of the National Programme for IT in the NHS and the idea of bringing in commercial personal health record platforms last month.

The survey found that doctors, IT managers and suppliers had differing views on the importance of giving patients online access to their records. Just 30% of GP readers and 28% of junior doctor readers of felt that this was “desirable”, compared to 85% of EHI readers working in the NHS and 95% of suppliers.

Dr Amir Hannan, a GP in Hyde, Cheshire, who has pioneered patient access to records through EMIS, said he was far from dismayed by the relatively low level of support for access to records from junior doctors and GPs.

He added: “Just imagine that 30% can talk to patients about record access; within a couple of years, you could have the whole country doing it. That 30% might seem small but to my mind its massive. Some patients also take their time to see the value of accessing their records, but once they have done they never want to go back.”

Just 10% of GPs, 15% of consultants and 16% of junior doctors and 15% of EHI readers working in the NHS backed the idea of letting commercial companies hold records – although EHI readers working in the independent sector and suppliers were more willing to consider it, with 44% and 41% backing it.

The biggest concern about the idea was privacy, with 60% of readers and 41% of EHI readers picking this as their prime concern.

Some 77% of readers and 80% of EHI readers were “very concerned” about the privacy implications of transferring patient records to firms that operate outside European and UK data protection laws. Only 1% and 4% said they were “not at all concerned” about this.

EHI readers were also worried about the fragmentation of records, with 29% picking this as their main worry (compared with 12% of readers). Almost one in five doctors (18%) were worried about patients and others removing vital information (compared with 14% of EHI readers).

The Conservatives are still running a consultation on patient access to records. Shadow health minister Stephen O’Brien said: “We have been clear that we want to give patients greater control over their health records, but the reason we’re running a consultation is that we want to hear the views of all parties on the best way to do that.”

More news: The survey also showed support for the National Programme for IT in the NHS – as long as it is reformed.

News analysis: Read more aobut the survey and the comments left by respondents in our news analysis: Put cross here.