Wednesday, February 04, 2009

NHS refusing to let patients opt out of Summary Care Record

Via FIPR, Pulse magazine is reporting:
"NHS bosses leading the rollout of the Summary Care Record are refusing to take no for an answer from patients who say they want to opt out, Pulse can reveal.

GPs in the first wave of the rollout are being asked to send their PCT a list of patients opting out of the programme, despite fears the request may breach confidentiality.

Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show NHS Lincolnshire, one of the first trusts to adopt the care record, wants GPs to hand over patients’ details, so they can be invited ‘to the surgery to discuss it further’.

The documents also reveal that when the PCT writes to patients, it will put the practice logo on letters so that they are sent ‘as if from the practice’."

If this report is accurate, then senior NHS managers are reportedly asking GPs to breach data protection laws and medical confidentiality, pretend that a demand from those managers for patients to attend surgeries to be brow-beaten into changing their minds about their medical privacy actually originates from their GPs, and actively engage in interviews with patients where they lean on them to agree to have their medical details put on ridiculously insecure computer systems, which the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee has just concluded:
  • don't work very well if at all
  • are neither liked nor trusted by NHS staff
  • that government claims about the functionality and value of the systems are unrealistic
  • that no one knows how much they are costing
  • that the contracts interfere with appropriate auditing of the systems
  • that data security threats are significant and the government department responsible thinks it "is not practical for it to collect details of all security breaches" thereon
Does incitement to break the law, or at the very least breach medical confidentiality, fall under the serious misconduct provisions of NHS employment regulations these days?

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