Confidentiality fears force survey change

Confidentiality fears raised by the DoH's own advisers have forced changes to the way the 2008 patient survey will be implemented.

The DoH's Patient Information Advisory Group (PIAG) opposed plans for the continued use of Apollo Medical System software to extract patient details in medical records.

The PIAG felt that the benefits to the public of conducting the survey did not outweigh the concerns over the use of confidential information.

The DoH explained: 'The concern was potential risk to individuals receiving a survey letter linking to a recent appointment or referral.'

The DoH said that the 2008 survey would not breach patient confidentiality: 'The NHAIS (Exeter) registration system selects patients at random from practices' registered lists without reference to appointment or referral information so there are no such concerns over confidentiality. Practices will hand out the questionnaire directly to relevant patients.'

The DoH also denied that the 2007 survey breached patient confidentiality.

It added: 'The DoH's Caldicott Guardian was content that arrangements put in place to conduct the access survey were sufficient to address the needs of the Data Protection Act 1998. That saw required data processing agreements put in place between all relevant parties.'

The survey measures practice performance against the standards set out in the access and choice and booking directed enhanced services.

Practices not wishing to take part should contact the DoH by email at by 30 November.

Practices will receive their choice questionnaires directly from Ipsos MORI in January 2008. There will be a reimbursement payment to practices for handing out the questionnaires as per last year's criteria.

DoH guidance

Comment below and tell us what you think

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins


Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

BMA House entrance

GPs face pension tax penalties worth 'half their post-tax income'

Rapid swings in inflation could leave GPs facing pension tax penalties worth 'half...

Sign outside BMA House

BMA to demand significant pay rises to combat 15 years of real-term cuts

The BMA is set to demand significant pay rises for all doctors to undo over a decade...

UK police station

Reporting a crime in the practice – the confidentiality dilemma

With incidents of aggressive behaviour from patients on the rise, Dr Emma Green,...

Sign reading 'General Medical Council'

GMC backs reversal of GP suspension over laptop and admits tribunal error

The GMC has admitted a medical tribunal was wrong to suspend a Manchester GP for...

Dr Chaand Nagpaul

Government 'willfully shrinking workforce' and exploiting doctors' goodwill, warns Nagpaul

The government is exploiting doctors' goodwill while persistently failing to adopt...

Vaccination tracker

UK COVID-19 vaccination programme tracker

GPs across the UK have led the largest-ever NHS vaccination programme in response...