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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Practice misled on withholding data

Dr Gerard Bulger raises an interesting point about the ownership of practice servers under nGMS (Letters, September 6). Older readers will recall the unresolved debates about the ownership of the cards (the Secretary of State for Health) and the ink with which the information is recorded (the doctor), but as far as I know the intellectual rights to the actual information have not been reliably established.

His anxieties could be assuaged by owning only the hard drive (equivalent to the card and the ink). The cost would only be about 10 per cent of the value of the server at most.

But the key issue is not the ownership of the media or indeed the data itself but control of access. How can access be controlled by the practice now that open links via NHS trust-controlled broadband and firewalls already exist? Does anyone know what degree of access to practice data is already available to trusts? What we can do about it all is far less certain than Dr Bulger implies.

Dr Michael Blackmore

Ringwood, Hants

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