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Threat over care records opt-out is unfounded

Connecting for Health's threat that GPs who automatically opt their patients out of the Summary Care Record might face complaints is entirely fatuous ('GPC member leads mass care record opt-out').

Patients registering with a new practice that is actively uploading records to the Spine - without explicit consent - are all supposed to be given details about the care record and told they have a short time to opt out or resign themselves to processing of their data.

The new practice is now the data controller and must ensure fully informed consent has been obtained prior to uploading records to the Spine, including satisfying themselves the patient has read and understood the leaflets.

It is the responsibility of the new GP to assess whether a pre-existing opt-out code in a patient's records still reflects the patient's wishes, in exactly the same way a GP must ensure all data received from their previous practice still reflects the patient's current medical state. GPs adding the opt-out code automatically are simply ensuring a care record is not created until explicit consent is conveyed from the patient to their GP. That is entirely reasonable, lawful and ethical as one element of the partnership between that patient and their doctor.

From Dr Neil Bhatia, Yateley, Hampshire

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