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Headline

NHS England allowed to share GP data outside recommended 'safe havens'

Comment

Firstly, the report above somewhat mis-states what is happening. The commissioners always had provider care data 'in the clear', and many of the commissioning business processes - eg quality assessments, claims management - and provider contracts are often built on that assumption. A "Section 251" agreement was in place to allow this for the last few years. All totally legal. The new Act does not allow the data to flow in the absence of a new 251 agreement. This was missed by those setting up the new structures until very recently. So for business as usual to continue, while business processes are reviewed and a solution identified which can work with 'weakly-identified' data, the curent 251 has allowed 6 months to make some changes. Probably not long enough, IMHO. A second - and very different - issue is the sharing of GP records. This is not related to the 251 as far as I understand it. GPES passes data in the clear, which is then pseudonymised. No change there. Finallly, many commissioners host computer systems used for direct care purposes (eg urgent care dashboards, risk stratification tools used in pratice MDTs). Some of these do process GP records alongside records from other care providers. These systems were noted by the Caldicott review, which suggested some tightening of contract arrangements to make the IG more robust.

Posted date

04 Jun 2013

Posted time

11:07am

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