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Government considering ‘mandating’ patient access to GP records

Government considering ‘mandating’ patient access to GP records

The Government is considering ‘mandating’ access for patients to their GP records, as is done in the United States, it has announced.

This would make it ‘easier’ for GP patients to get hold of their data and records, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said.

The DHSC’s final data strategy, published today, said the Government is ‘looking at how we can make it easier for patients to access their own data and GP records, including mandating access as they have done in the United States’.

As of April last year, health organisations in the United States are required to share medical records with patients electronically and for free.

It remains unclear what exactly would be mandated and what this would mean for GPs. Pulse has approached the DHSC for further details.

However, the DHSC also today indicated that patient access to GP records on the NHS App is again delayed until November, following rumours it would launch in July this year.

It said: ‘We will improve access to GP records in the NHS App by giving patients access to their latest health information (November 2022).’

The DHSC strategy also confirmed that patients will be able to ‘share information about their sleep or physical activity from wearable devices’ to their GP via the NHS App, as revealed by the draft plan in June last year.

Meanwhile, the Government admitted in the document that it had made a ‘mistake’ when it tried to re-launch plans for mass patient data sharing last year.

It said: ‘In the summer of 2021, we made a mistake and did not do enough to explain the improvements needed to the way we collect general practice data.’

It added: ‘Not only did we insufficiently explain, we also did not listen and engage well enough. This led to confusion and anxiety, and created a perception that we were willing to press ahead regardless.’

Government-commissioned review lead Professor Ben Goldacre previously said that trying to re-launch the data sharing programme last year was ‘a mistake’ before a ‘trusted research environment’ had been guaranteed.

NHS Digital is currently analysing results from a survey of GP practice staff about their views on digital data.

The final data strategy also said:

Speaking today at the HealthTech summit, health secretary Sajid Javid said: ‘We will improve trust in data, which is the currency that data-driven technologies need to function.

‘We will work with the public, including people working in health and care, to develop a new pact on data, which will set out how we will use health and care data, and what the public has the right to expect.’

He added: ‘This will include the ability to opt out of sharing data because although we know that most people want their data to be used for good, we will make the opt-out system simpler and more transparent.’

NHS Digital had announced in October that patients whose practices use TPP would be first to have access to new entries in their GP notes through the NHS app from December 2021 – with EMIS practices to follow this year.

But the launch date was delayed until April 2022 for both systems, after the BMA wrote to NHSX expressing its concerns about the timing of the rollout.

It was then delayed again, with NHS England recognising concerns around ‘safeguarding’, but it remained unclear when the launch would finally take place.

Under the plans, patients will not be able to make changes to their GP records at this time, although a Government white paper published in February said that plans were ‘underway’ for patients to be able to access and contribute to their shared care record.



Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

Patrufini Duffy 13 June, 2022 3:52 pm

Imagine all those with anxiety and hypochondriasis coded up. And cocaine abuse and argumentative behaviour. They’ll have a right jolly comparing notes and their coeliac screens over prosecco.

Reply moderated
David Church 13 June, 2022 3:53 pm

Will EVERY patient be mandated to access their GP records?
What if they are not capable?
Will patients who fail to obey the mandate be sent to Rwanda?
Oh – I see, that is how it makes NHS care cheaper, by exporting patients too lazy to access their records…….

Rogue 1 13 June, 2022 5:52 pm

If they are mandated then they become patient records that GPs will have access to.
Also, if patients all have access then there will no longer be the need for solicitor and patients to request copies of their notes – as the patient will be the holder and have access (cant see that happening though)

Patrufini Duffy 13 June, 2022 5:52 pm

Can you imagine the conversation amongst this lot of pseudo-medics?

“I don’t want xxxx on my notes …” . In case I go home and my parents’ GP sees it. And, “my friend Amy’s iron level is 54, but mine is 48 and I was told it was normal”. And “I was panicking and bloated and couldn’t party at all this weekend, because I don’t know what TATFINGT means in my app”.
Wrong population to try this stunt on.

The insurance companies are gonna love you for you 10 codes accurued and wodge of Lloyd George summarised. Made in the UK world of medicalisation. It all sadly has come to catch up with you, all this nannying whining. And now you want to delete it like it never happened. Minefield.

paul cundy 13 June, 2022 8:28 pm

Dear All,
Oh dear more muppetry, have they not heard of GDPR or were they partying when it came in?
Patients already have full legally backed access to their records if they want it, its called a Subject Access Request. What NHSE are talking about is the mechanism of access, not the right to it. Arguing over the practical detail whilst being blind to the bigger picture, or what?
Paul C

Darren Cornish 17 June, 2022 8:30 am

Patients already have access.

GP’s notes need to be a place where colleagues can address the complexity of General Practice. This is imperative to patient safety. When we have to write things down in cloak and dagger language for fear for reprimand from the patient the power of GP to care for patients will be lost.

Nigel Dickson 26 June, 2022 5:26 pm

Dear Paul, how exactly do patients gain on fettered access to their medical records? Have you ever gone through a Subject Access Request to look at your own medical records? I suspect not – its not easy and you can’t just click into your medical records from your laptop with a few mouse clicks and a couple of passwords. Eventually GPs will climb down from their entrenched paternalism and realise “what was all the fuss about” This refusnik position of a large section of GPs just echoes their reluctance to embrace change. Remember the battles with Lloyd George partners in 1980’s over computing “you can get a practice computer but don’t expect me to use it – I really just can’t see the point” And all the other excuses our colleagues made up to resist the inevitable. Patients are going to have easy direct access to their own medical records – there is little point trying to resist the incoming tide.
The real battle – that patients need their GPs professional help with is who else is going to have access to their medical records – that’s the real challenge that this government is being economical with the truth as to their real end game – its not about being the patients advocate against the resistance from some parts of the medical profession – we have been wrong footed by this government – we are the patients traditional advocates – not this right wing government. As GPs we need to regain the moral high ground and support our patients full and easy access to their own medical records.