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EU laws could sink care.data, NHS staff overpaid millions and new NICE guidelines on autism

Our round-up of the health news headlines on Tuesday 21 January.

The controversial care.data rollout could be sunk by proposed new EU legislation which would render the scheme illegal, the Daily Telegraph reports today.

Board papers drawn up by the Department of Health reveal that regulations aimed at harmonising rules on data protection - regulations which will not go to a vote until next year at the earliest - could mean the whole project may have to be scrapped.

The papers also reveal that the whole scheme has so far cost at least £50m, and that it has yet to be approved by the Treasury.

The Daily Mail picks up Pulse’s investigation from last Friday into releases of identifiable data approved by the independent experts who will oversee care.data.

As Pulse revealed, identifiable information has been released on 31 occasions since last April. Releases have affected, as the Mail points out, ‘tens of thousands of patients’.

(The health writer and columnist Roy Lilley also tackles the thorny topic of care.data this morning - read what he has to make of it here.)

GPs may still be wrestling with payment problems, but in hospitals there’s a very different situation, according to a study covered in the Telegraph.

Researchers at the London School of Economics and the Policy Analysis Centre who looked at audit reports from the Barts and the London trust have estimated that staff there may have been overpaid as much as £1m over two years, due to poor record-keeping. Across the NHS as much as £63m could have been overpaid, the study suggested.

And finally, the Guardian covers a report from NICE which warns that the quality of care for autistic patients is poor and varies across England.

As part of a new set of proposed guidelines, NICE is mandating that patients referred to autism specialists should be guaranteed a diagnostic assessment within three months.

Spotted a story we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll update the digest throughout the day…

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