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At the heart of general practice since 1960

The importance of consent

Dr John Sampson, Poringland, Norwich

I am astonished at the view of Dr Gillian Braunold, clinical lead at Connecting for Health, that seeking explicit consent to include patients in a national electronic record would be difficult (News, 26 January).

Over the last year I have been the clinical lead for a project developing Health Coaching for patients with long-term conditions.

Demographic data on patients has to be stored at the coaching centre remote from the practices. We have sought extensive legal advice, eventually getting detailed and comprehensive QC advice. Patients have to be individually contacted and given the option to opt out. We can then add this to the registration process for new patients.

We will be consenting our 7,500 patients in Febuary. The main problem is getting the letter and opt-out form correct. The logistics are then easy.

Maybe Dr Braunold will be in touch, as I am sure this has to be done. The cost of her, no doubt glossy, Department of Health publicity campaign would probably pay for the consent to be done correctly. Or has she spotted a handy loophole we can all use?

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