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Independents' Day

Patients 'leaned on' to share records

The first patients to be included in the rollout of the Summary Care Record have been 'leaned on' and 'deliberately discouraged' from opting out, a patient group has told MPs.

Patients' Concern warned MPs on the Health Select Committee that a leaflet sent to patients in Bolton informing them their records would be uploaded was confusing, with the right to opt out buried in 'tiny print' at the bottom of the back page.The area is the first in the country to see the rollout of the new record, which has provoked a storm of controversy from GPs over patient confidentiality fears.The accusation patients have been pressured into allowing their records to be uploaded came a week after Pulse launched its Common Sense on IT campaign, which calls for a system whereby patients would have to give explicit consent before their records are shared.'Patients are being shortchanged,' Joyce Robins, co-director of Patient Concern, told the committee. 'It's back to the old paternalistic idea – we'll do what's good for you and don't worry your poor little heads.'Dr Bernard Newgrosh, a GP in Bolton who is refusing to take part in the early-adopter programme, said it was vital patients were fully informed of their right to opt out.According to the latest figures, just 0.23% of patients in the early-adopter practices in Bolton have so far chosen to opt out of the scheme. A spokesperson for Connecting for Health said that the patients were sent a covering letter along with the leaflet that explained their right to opt out.

• Campaign support, overleaf• Choose and Book blow, page 10

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