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Care record bosses to scrap patient consent model

By Steve Nowottny

Connecting for Health looks set to scrap the implied consent model for the Summary Care Record, after a crunch meeting of the independent body overseeing the project.

The Summary Care Record advisory group called for a ‘refined consent model' for care records in response to the independent evaluation of the project earlier this year.

Connecting for Health declined to describe the advisory group's preferred consent model in detail, but the independent evaluation had called for ‘consent to view', with patients asked for explicit consent every time their care record was accessed.

No final decision is likely until mid-September, but the recommendation means a fundamental rethink of the project's consent model – long called for by the BMA – is increasingly likely.

A Connecting for Health spokesperson said: ‘The advisory group has met and recommended the NHS adopts a refined consent model, simplifying decisions for patients without removing the choices available. This would provide the protection they and some healthcare professionals want.'

The move came as GP campaigners seized on a new European Court of Human Rights ruling as fresh evidence that security safeguards for the care record may not be adequate.

The court ordered the Finnish government to pay €34,000 to an HIV-positive nurse whose records were apparently accessed inappropriately by colleagues.

It ruled creating an audit trail to retrospectively identify inappropriate accessing of records was not sufficient to maintain confidentiality, and called for ‘practical and effective protection to exclude any possibility of unauthorised access'.

Dr Paul Thornton, a GP in Kingsbury in Warwickshire, said the case set an important legal precedent for the NHS.

‘The scenario in this Finnish case exactly illustrates the problems that will arise in the UK,' he said.

Patient confidentiality: NHS bosses set to scrap controversial model Patient confidentiality: NHS bosses set to scrap controversial model

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