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Warning of legal risk over uploads to NHS Care Record

GPs could face prosecution under the Data Protection Act if they fail to stop the upload of records to the spine when patients have requested it.

The legal threat would come if GPs' IT systems failed to recognise a code in the record indicating the patient's objection, according to Dr Paul Cundy.

Dr Cundy, co-chair of the joint GPC/RCGP IT committee, raised the issue following news that using the 93C3 Read Code would not automatically opt patients out of the NHS Care Record (News, 18 January).

Dr Cundy said: 'If a patient contacts a GP and says "I don't want my data uploaded" and the GP makes a record of this and then fails to stop that upload, that's breaching the act.'

Dr Cundy said EMIS, InPractice Systems and Microtest

systems all recognised the code as a trigger to opt out and he expected other providers to follow suit: 'It would not be sensible for an opt out blocking mechanism not to recognise Read Code data.'

Dr Nick Clements, medico-legal adviser at the Medical Protection Society. said patients could complain through the NHS complaints procedure or under the Data Protection Act. But, he added: 'If GPs have lodged the objection using a Read Code, they can simply search their records.'

• Letters, page 32

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