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GPC backs rethink of 'in person' care record opt-out

By Steve Nowottny

The GPC has issued a motion against PCTs requiring patients to opt out of the care record in person.

The motion, passed unanimously at last week's GPC meeting, calls for patients to be able to opt out by writing to, or telling, their GP.

The motion came as Connecting for Health ordered PCTs requiring the 'in person' opt out to back down. New guidance states that patients must be allowed to opt out of having a Summary Care Record by post.

Pulse revealed earlier this month that thousands of patients in Birmingham and Stoke-on-Trent had been told they would have to explain their reasons face to face if they did not wish to have a care record.

The report was picked up in the national media and prompted outrage among privacy campaigners and patient groups.

Dr Gillian Braunold, clinical director of the Summary Care Record and Healthspace, said the U-turn followed the successful use of a postal opt-out in Dorset, and was also prompted by ‘wider feedback'.

She said: ‘We have listened to our early adopters and decided we need to make sure there is an easier way to opt out than through a visit to the surgery. Although it is important patients can talk through options, we also want to make it as easy as possible for those who have already made up their mind.'

GPC chair Dr Laurence Buckman said: ‘As long as the patient tells their GP, that should be enough. We don't think patients should have to justify it.'

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