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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Shipman GP stunned by GMC charge

The Government is to release a code of practice on quality framework visits to GPs in order to stave off breaches of patient confidentiality by primary care organisations.

The move comes after widespread complaints by GPs over PCOs' plans for the visits, notably over how records would be accessed and gaining patient consent.

PCOs have also complained of a lack of guidance and ad- mitted they were uncertain about rules on confidentiality.

GPC deputy-chair Dr Laurence Buckman said the guidance would not change existing laws but would make them 'crystal clear'.

He added it would help shore up confidence in the 'high-trust, low-bureaucracy' nature of quality framework checks.

'Some PCOs may be surprised at what the limits to their rights are,' he said. 'If a PCO wants to use information in an improper way they will find out it's going to be harder than they thought.'

The guidance, to be published before visits start next month, will reinforce that information should be anon-ymised, and that any detail

or combination of details

that could allow the patient to be identified should be


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