GP Letters, calls & emails: The MPS's response

We are always pleased to receive any feedback on MPS policy and views, regardless of whether GPs are members.

Because of limited space the article summarised the points that Dr Bown made and, in the sentence to which you refer, she meant that the general rule is that practices should anonymise patient information.

However, it will clearly not be possible to anonymise records in every circumstance, which require this type of access request by the police or other authorised persons.

In the article, the check list is helpful in outlining the considerations which should be taken into account and reflects the advice MPS gives to our members.

For instance using anonymous data, if this is acceptable to the investigating authority, could involve photocopying records and covering patient names.

Where anonymising data is not possible it is important to consider whether consent from the patients concerned is necessary unless it is not possible or public interest is overwhelming.

I hope this is helpful and clarifies matters. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of any further assistance.

Ciara Brannigan, Media and policy manager, MPS.

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