Two thirds of GPs sign up for IGSoC

  • 8 April 2009

Around two-thirds of GP practices had signed up to NHS Connecting for Health’s information governance standards by the deadline of the end of March, according to the Department of Health.

The DH said it was “extremely pleased” with the response, although CfH was unable to confirm how many of those 5,800 practices had met its standards by achieving level 2 of the Information Governance Toolkit.

All practices must achieve level 2 compliance by the end of March 2010 and the original deadline was for all practices to have achieved compliance by the end of March this year.

A statement issued by the DH states: “A number of deadlines were set by NHS Connecting for Health to encourage sign-up and to set challenging targets for primary care trusts working with practices.

"The bottom line is that the Department of Health believes that it is important that all practices undertake to play their part in keeping the NHS infrastructure secure. An assurance statement provides evidence of this and that a practice is taking its responsibilities seriously. There is no penalty for missing a deadline.”

However, the DH said the Operating Framework for 2009-10 makes it clear that all parts of the NHS are required to meet key information governance standards by 31 March 2010.

CfH’s Information Governance Statement of Compliance (IGSoC) effectively replaces the N3 code of connection, according to the DH.

To complete the IGSoC organisations need to meet the obligations set out in an information governance toolkit. The toolkit for GP practices involves 14 governance requirements of which eight are considered ‘key’.

Stage 1 of the toolkit involves completing a self-assessment process which indicates where GP practices are on the path to full IGSoC compliance.

Practices are then required to reach level 2 or above to ensure compliance with the Data Protection Act, Human Rights Act, Freedom of Information Act and other linked legislation.

PCTs had a target of delivering 100% completion of the online IGSoC by 31 March 2009. Online completion closed on 31 March and a new version will not be available until 1 July.

A spokesperson for CfH told EHI Primary Care that the GP requirements would stay essentially the same although it would be discussing a possible new one relating to NHS Number use with the joint GPC/RCGP IT committee.

Guidance issued to GP practices in London by Londonwide LMCs says that if practices fail to reach level 2 “an extreme outcome” could result in the PCT decommissioning the non-compliant contractor.

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