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Lawyers are called in over IT ownership

The GPC and NHS Confederation have called in lawyers to break a stalemate over whether GPs or primary care organisations will be liable if practice computer systems fail.

PCOs take responsibility for paying for practice computers under the new contract and take ownership of systems they have paid for.

But it is unclear whether they take on liability if, for example, a GP was unable to access their records and prescribed a drug to which a patient was allergic.

The talks are also considering whether GPs or PCOs should pay the cost of insurance against the loss of equipment and data.

'We've debated the issues round and round,' said the deputy-chair of the GPC's

IT sub-committee, Dr Gillian Braunold.

'The insurance issue I hope we can sort out without lawyers, but on liability there is a whole agenda they are looking at. We expect these things to become clear in the next couple of weeks.'

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