GP practices must remain the data controller for GP records even if databases are held within a hosted environment, Scottish GP representatives have agreed.
In a special debate on information sharing and confidentiality at the Scottish Local Medical Committees’ (LMCs) conference last week GPs also insisted that Scotland’s explicit consent model should remain for all information held by practices.
Dr Stuart Scott, deputy chairman of Scotland’s General Practitioner Committee, said a special debate was held on information sharing because it was considered an issue of high importance and one LMCs were most concerned about. He said GPs wanted to remain as data controllers to ensure appropriate safeguards were in place for patient information.
He told EHI Primary Care: “In Scotland we are particularly keen that at all times consent from the patient is explicit.”
The Scottish model for access to GP information out of hours has been set up on different lines to the Summary Care Record (SCR) currently being piloted in England. The Emergency Care Summary (ECS) is extracted from GP records every night but is only able to be viewed by out of hours services or accident and emergency departments with patients’ explicit consent.
Dr Scott added: “Explicit consent was considered best practice and it was felt that access to people’s personal sensitive information should never be less than best practice.”
The conference passed a motion calling on the Scottish Executive to agree appropriate security and policing for the increasing amount of confidential patient data held electronically.
Dr Scott said current plans under consideration for the ECS include enabling access by acute receiving units in secondary care which in Scotland operate separately to A&E departments. However he said any widening access or widening information would still be based on an explicit consent model.
The Scottish LMCs’ conference also welcomes the Deloitte Report published late last year which recommended that Scotland move to at most two system suppliers, neither of which is likely to be GPASS. GP representatives called on Scottish GPC to negotiate a smooth transition for GPASS users and to ensure that GPASS are protected from financial loss as a result of any transition.
Representatives also claimed that some NHS boards were preventing practices from having real IT system choice and insisted that the Scottish Executive take urgent action to force NHS boards to comply with the commitment to system choice in the nGMS contract.
GPs also voted to postpone the introduction of the new Scottish cervical screening system because of concerns computer problems could lead to some women missing out on screening.