GPs could breach confidentiality laws by sharing data nationally

LMCs have called for a GPC investigation to determine if uploading data to the national care record system could leave GPs in breach of the Data Protection Act.

GPs could breach confidentiality laws by sharing data nationally
GPs could breach confidentiality laws by sharing data nationally

However, they rejected calls for a public enquiry into the system, and voted not to call for the suspension of Choose and Book.

Buckinghamshire LMC member Dr Gill Beck said that since the DoH had managed to reveal data about doctors when the Medical Training and Application Service malfunctioned, it could not be trusted to protect patient data.

GPs at the 2007 LMCs conference voted for the GPC to clarify if GPs could breach GPC guidance, the Data Protection Act or other legal constraints by releasing patient data.

LMCs also voted in favour of a motion stating that patients should not be denied access to services if they opt out of the national electronic patient record system. They should also be fully informed by the DoH of any implications the decision to opt in or out may have, LMCs said.

LMCs said GPs were gravely concerned with the implementation of the care record. However, Bolton LMC member Dr George Ogden, whose practice is piloting the care record, said GPs should engage to help improve the system from within.

But GPC member and joint RCGP/GPC IT committee chairman Dr Paul Cundy said: 'The major problem with the record is that we don't actually know what it's going to contain. We should engage with the pilots, but not let them go further until we have more information.'

Read more views on the LMCs conference in our Editors' blog.

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