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U-turn on data opt-out code

A Read code will be used to block the upload of opted-out patients' records to the spine.

In a U-turn, Connecting for Health is recommending to a meeting of the Summary Record Advisory Group that the 93C3 code should be adopted for use where patients do not want records to be uploaded.

A message indicating the patient has opted out will be transmitted to the spine.

Dr Gillian Braunold, GP clinical lead for Connecting for Health, said the code should be used in order to avoid confusion over whether patients had refused consent or not.

'We've made a very strong argument for having that,' she said.

Previously, Connecting for Health had wanted the code to be simply a prompt for GPs rather than the mechanism to prevent information upload.

Dr Paul Cundy, GPC IT subcommittee chair and a GP in Wimbledon, south London, said it was a victory which moved the GPC's campaign for an opt-in system a step closer.

He said: 'The patient has the opt-out options they should have. It's not yet an opt-in but we're getting closer.'

Dr Cundy said it was unclear whether 93C3 would work when the full care record was up and running because GPs would not be the only ones contributing.

But he added that software suppliers 'would be in a very tricky position if they supplied systems which did not allow GPs to comply with the Data Protection Act'.

Dr Mike Robinson, medical director at Inpractice Systems (INPS), one of the suppliers, said the summary Care Record pilot project team had agreed that INPS could choose to implement a check for the code in the patient record.

'If we find this code, then no patient data will be uploaded, and a blank summary will be sent,' he said.

hcrump@cmpmedica.com

Change of heart on 93C3

Previously

Connecting for Health had wanted the 93C3 to be simply a prompt for GPs rather than the mechanism to prevent information upload

Now

Connecting for Health is recommending that the 93C3 Read code should prevent upload of patient data to the spine

MPs to probe patients' right to snub electronic Care Record

MPs are to investigate whether patients should have a right to demand their personal data is not held on a shared electronic Care Record.

The inquiry by the Health Select Committee will also determine what information should be held on local and national shared records systems and whether patient confidentiality can be adequately protected.

It will discuss concerns over who should be able to access information and under what circumstances, including whether data should be used for

purposes other than the delivery of care, such as clinical research.

The committee will also look at Connecting for Health's progress on the £12.4 billion NHS IT system and demand answers on why delivery of new systems is up to two years behind schedule.

The inquiry follows an open letter to the committee last May from 23 academics calling for an independent audit of the NHS IT programme because they believed that the system was not effective and that clinicians were not being engaged.

Dr Gillian Braunold, joint GP clinical lead for the Connecting for Health IT project, said she had confidence in the Care Record system but could understand why some people were concerned.

She said: 'You cannot start a project of this size and not have a significant number of people expressing views like that. There are a lot of myths out there – some people still think that anyone with a smart card can access any patient record in the country.'

GPs can submit their views to the inquiry at www.parliament.uk until 16 March.

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