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Pulse expose prompts U-turn on Care Record opt out

By Steve Nowottny

Connecting for Health has ordered PCTs involved in the Summary Care Record rollout to back down after Pulse revealed that patients who did not want to take part had been forced to opt out in person.

New guidance issued to PCTs this week states that patients must be allowed to opt out of having a Summary Care Record by post.

It follows widespread criticism from GPs and patient groups after Pulse revealed last week that thousands of patients in Birmingham and Stoke-on-Trent had been told they would have to explain their reasons face-to-face if they did not wish to take part in the scheme.

Dr Gillian Braunold, clinical director of the Summary Care Record and Healthspace, said the U-turn followed the successful use of a postal opt out in Dorset, and was also prompted by ‘wider feedback.'

She said: ‘We have listened to our our early adopters and decided we need to make sure there is an easier way to opt out than through a visit to the surgery.'

‘While it is important that patients are given the opportunity to talk through options, we also want to make it as easy as possible for those who have already made up their mind. Patients can be reassured that not only will their permission be asked before their SCR is accessed by any of the healthcare team, but if they change their mind at any point about their SCR being available to healthcare teams, this can be easily prevented.'

Three GPs appeared on Radio 4's Today programme this morning discussing whether there should be an automatic opt in or opt out to the care record. Dr Colin Eagle of the Yardey Wood Health Centre in South Birmingham, one of the pilot areas, supported the opt out route, saying most of his 9,000 patients were happy with the process.

However, Drs Neil Bhatia and Prit Buttar described how they were running an opt in at their respective surgeries and none of their patients had so far chosen to do so.

Patients will now be allowed to opt out of the Summary Care Record by post Patients will now be allowed to opt out of the Summary Care Record by post

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