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Patients to be hit by information blitz

exclusive

The Government is considering sending letters to every patient in the country to publicise the NHS Care Records Service.

In an exclusive interview with Pulse, Harry Cayton, the Department of Health's patients tsar, said a planned publicity campaign had to ensure all patients were fully informed about the Care Record.

But he said the Government would not backtrack on its plan to automatically include all patients' summary records on the so-called 'spine', unless they specifically opted out.

The BMA and RCGP are among many organisations insisting patients should have to give explicit consent for their record to be included.

Mr Cayton, who is also chair of the Care Record Development Board, said: 'Whatever form of consent – implied or explicit consent – there must be good information for patients about what is happening. Every individual should have a chance to know about this and to know they can tell their doctor they don't want their data shared.'

Mr Cayton added: 'We have looked at issues around doing individual letters to patients. We have also looked at door drops – to at least get information to every household.'

Dr Richard Vautrey, GPC negotiator, said the publicity had to inform patients 'in a non-judgmental way and without too much spin'.

He also raised concern that patients would deluge GPs with questions. The GPC will be

monitoring the workload generated in the early adopter

sites, set to be announced next month.

Dr Vautrey said: 'There could be huge workload implications and that is an area we would have to address with Connecting for Health and the department.'

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