British soldiers wounded in combat zones will soon carry a computer chip containing details of their injuries and their medical records, the UK Ministry of Defence says.

The chip has been created as part of a plan to centralise medical records of all service personnel, allowing their medical records to be accessed anywhere in the world.

The memory cards will be loaded with details of treatment patients receive on the frontline, which can then be downloaded by medics onto computers that can be attached to the patient, before being loaded onto the central system.

Army doctor Lt. Col. Jonathan Cox says the system is based on the idea of dog tags, which soldiers tend not to lose.

“Bits of paper and clipboards have a tendency to be put down and lost; with this system we give the memory card to the patient,” he says.

“If they happen to be unconscious, we can clip it to them and it will stay with them.”

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The MoD also announced the rollout of the Defence Medical Information Capability Programme, which will be connected with NHS information systems from 2010, improving the services military personnel will receive in national hospitals.

The IT component of the system was developed by LogicaCMG at a cost of £80m.

By Elizabeth Clifford-Marsh