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PCT pursues patients who opt out of Summary Care Record

NHS bosses leading the rollout of the Summary Care Record are refusing to take no for an answer from patients who say they want to opt out, Pulse can reveal.

GPs in the first wave of the rollout are being asked to send their PCT a list of patients opting out of the programme, despite fears the request may breach confidentiality.

Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show NHS Lincolnshire, one of the first trusts to adopt the care record, wants GPs to hand over patients' details, so they can be invited ‘to the surgery to discuss it further'.

The documents also reveal that when the PCT writes to patients, it will put the practice logo on letters so that they are sent ‘as if from the practice'.

The move is one of a series to be adopted by trusts as they step up efforts to get GPs and patients on board.

But privacy campaigners branded the request ‘absolutely astonishing', and said it echoed the widely opposed request made in 2006 that GPs forward opt-outs to the Department of Health.

Dr Neil Bhatia, a GP in Yateley in Hampshire who has already opted out hundreds of his patients, warned handing over names of dissenting patients would be ‘a gross breach of confidentiality.'

‘Most of the current unofficial opt-out forms explicitly state no-one else but the practice should know,' he said.

‘I can only hope practices do not comply with this outrageous proposal – they put themselves at serious medico-legal risk if they do.'

It has also emerged that some of the first practices to take part in the care record rollout have been paid incentives to get involved.

The first 11 practices in Bolton who fully uploaded their records have or will soon receive payments of £2,000, while Brighton and Hove City PCT is also in discussions over a proposed LES.

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