Paul Routledge tells how he now carries a home-made ID document around with him which would save medics time if he was found in an emergency as health experts recommend a “patient passport”
These days I carry around a home-made laminated ID document about the size of a playing card.
It gives the basic details: name, age, address, passport and NHS numbers, big operation and drugs I must take. Total: 60 words. I wrote the list, and had it sealed in plastic at a stationer’s in Skipton, £1.50 for two, one for me and one for Mrs R, for use in an emergency.
It saves time for medics when they first encounter you. Indeed, one nurse said: “I wish everybody had something like this!” I bring up this personal detail because a panel of health experts this week recommended we all carry a “patient passport” to help in our contacts with the NHS.
While I was never a fan of European-style compulsory ID cards proposed by New Labour, I think this is the germ of a good idea. They could save lives and they would save a lot of faff.
The medicos want it to be a digital affair, giving access to a patient’s records. No problems with that, but it really ought to be available to everyone, not just those with a smartphone.
And for those who regard all ID as total anathema, let me remind them we already have the global health insurance card, successor to the EU version, which gives discounted or free cover abroad. It’s free, it’s voluntary and it’s easy to apply for. The same could be done for an NHS patient’s passport.
If I can do it for the price of a bag of supermarket oranges, the Department of Health can do it for pennies. But until then, I’ll hang on to my home-made number.