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.’