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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Fitness to practise panel seeks GPs

GPs' concerns over Choose and Book and the NHS Care Record will be sorted out before practices have to use the systems, Professor Mike Pringle told the conference.

Opening a special debate on confidentiality and data protection, Professor Pringle, one of two GP clinical leads attached to Connecting for Health, said both systems would be safe.

But his reassurances fell on deaf ears as GPs queued up to condemn the multi-billion pound IT modernisation programme.

Professor Pringle said electronic transfer of prescriptions, GP-to-GP record transfer and Choose and Book would be 'good for patients and good for us'.

He admitted that Choose and Book currently 'isn't good enough' but added that the new version due in the autumn would fix current problems. He said: 'We must be clear that patient confidentiality is totally protected.'

Professor Pringle said the patient's national care record would only show a few key facts about them and that more detailed information would require specific patient consent.

'I know this isn't a straightforward issue ­ I want to hear your views because if you don't buy into the system it won't work,' he added.

Dr Simon Bradley of Avon LMC said GPs should not be 'seduced' into thinking the spine was necessary, because trials of electronic prescriptions and GP-to-GP data transfer were done without it.

Dr Paul Cundy, chair of the RCGP/GPC IT subcommittee, said Connecting for Health was 'dodging the issue' of data sharing.

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