GP representatives are concerned that GP practices that have bought their own desktops and mobile devices may miss out on encryption software bought for the NHS.

Earlier this year, NHS Connecting for Health announced a deal with security software specialist McAfee to supply 700,000 licences for data encryption software to the NHS. This was part of the NHS’ response to the loss of unencrypted records on 23m child benefit claimants by HM Revenue and Customs.

However, the joint GP IT committee of the British Medical Association’s General Practitioner Committee and the Royal College of General Practitioners, is concerned that equipment owned by practices could miss out on the deal.

Dr Grant Ingrams, acting chair of the joint IT committee, has now written to local medical committees asking for evidence of practices not being able to access appropriate information governance resources.

Dr Ingrams told EHI Primary Care that he had sent the letter because he was concerned difficulties might occur rather than because practices had already reported problems getting hold of the encryption software.

He added: “There are an awful lot of practices where part of the kit, particularly mobile devices, is owned by the practice rather than the primary care trust. My concern is that PCTs won’t apply for licences in those cases either because they don’t believe it qualifies or because they are just missing them off in error.”

Dr Ingrams said CfH was supportive of PCTs putting the McAfee software on all equipment used by practices for NHS business, whether it was owned by the PCT or not. He said PCTs in some areas had begun to roll-out the McAfee software to GP practices, while others had not yet received it.