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GPs now contractually obliged to record patient ethnicity

recording ethnicity

GPs will now be contractually obliged to record patients’ ethnicity in their records where patients are happy to share it.

The information is optional and will not affect registration but should be coded in the available categories which include ‘prefer not to say’.

In a recent primary care bulletin, NHS England stressed that ethnicity information is ‘sensitive personal data and must be processed and used only for medical purposes in accordance with data protection legislation’.

GMS and PMS contract regulations have been amended to reflect the changes.

Concerns that ethnicity was not being routinely collected as part of the Covid-19 vaccination programme have also been addressed by NHS England who have added ethnicity reporting to Pinnacle – the system being used to record jabs – as a ‘supplementary measure’.

A number of voices, including the RCGP, had suggested a lack of data collected at the point of vaccination may hinder efforts to ensure good vaccine uptake among different ethnic groups.

An NHS England spokesperson said: As has been the case from the start of the vaccination programme, when someone is vaccinated this fact links to their NHS records enabling population uptake to be monitored by ethnicity, and with aggregate data shared with local authority directors of public health as they lead work to ensure equitable community uptake.

‘In addition, as a “belt and braces” supplementary measure, ethnicity data it is also being recorded as part of the vaccination collection through Pinnacle.’


Stephanie Hart 29 January, 2021 1:13 pm

“Ethnicity” is so complicated in a multi-ethnic and diverse society like ours. I collected “land of your fathers” information (originally with an interest in sickle etc) for 20 years in outer London and often listed 4 different ethnic origins (and occasionally more).
In Wales, folk look bemused and say “English” or “welsh” or occasionally “european”

Patrufini Duffy 29 January, 2021 3:34 pm

GP teams again used as GovUK demographic data controllers. And what will they do with all this cunning population data? Probably sell it. And if you don’t? Close you down on contractual breach grounds of not recording that someone is (and must be) a specific label. Next will be what eye colour are they, and how many glasses of water are consumed daily. How transparent and mundanely beuracractic of you with your covert workings.