PRACTICE POLICY & INFORMATION REGARDING THE NHS DATABASE
A new central NHS computer system is being gradually introduced across England called the Summary Care Record which is meant to help emergency doctors and nurses obtain clinical information about you when you contact or see them when the surgery is closed. Initially, it will contain just your medications and allergies but later on, as the Summary Care Record develops, many other staff who work in the NHS (and quite possibly non-NHS workers) will be able to access your data and the record will be expanded (or “enriched”) to include information from hospital clinics, out of hours services, specialists letters etc. as well as more detailed diagnoses from your GP records. This data would be uploaded from our practice computer system and then be accessible nationwide but this practice would cease to control the data and would not be able to keep track of who has accessed your information and their reason for doing so.
The Department of Health believes that everyone should be assumed to be happy to have their medical data uploaded to this database and be required to formally object (“opt out”) if not. However, The British Medical Association, as well as very many GPs (including the partners at this practice), DO NOT support this “presumed” consent but strongly believe that patients should be asked to give explicit consent - that is, “opt in” - before any of their GP health records are placed on the national database.
Although there is currently no information as to when data from this area will be uploaded, it is our understanding that, once uploaded, it is very difficult to have your data deleted. For these reasons the practice has displayed notices in the surgery and on its website since mid-August advising patients that, from the end of September, we would be applying a code to all patient records (except those specifically asking to opt-in) which will prevent their data being uploaded when the time comes.
We are pleased to advise that this process has now been completed and the 93C3 ‘blocking’ code has been added to the record of all currently registered patients except those who have specifically requested us not to.
Should any of our patients, having weighed up the potential benefits against the potential risks, wish to have their record uploaded to the Summary Care Record in the future we can remove this code at any time upon receipt of a completed consent form which is available from reception or from our website.
Drs Swinyard, Lehmkuhl and Bassanino – 22 October 2010
CLICK HERE to download a consent form allowing you to opt in to the Summary Care Record system.