A former chair of the BMA’s GP IT committee is advising GPs to automatically opt-out all patients from the Summary Care Record.
Dr Paul Cundy, a Wimbledon GP, said he was issuing advice to GPs because trade union law was hindering the BMA and its General Practitioner Committee from doing so.
Dr Cundy’s advice is that GPs should enter the Read code 93C3 (refused consent for upload to national shared electronic record) to all patient records except those for which a patient has given explicit consent to have an SCR.
However, the BMA said his views did not represent BMA policy. Such a blanket approach has also been previously criticised by NHS Connecting for Health, although a spokesperson declined to comment on Dr Cundy’s advice.
Dr Cundy said practices could refuse to take part in the SCR programme but his preferred option was for GPs to automatically opt-out all patients, except where explicit consent has been given.
He added: “This will stop any uploads to the SCR and will enable the system to run on an explicit opt-in basis which is what everyone has been demanding. I will be doing this in my surgery before the end of the month.”
The GPC has previously advised against practices adding the 93C3 code unless patients have chosen to opt-out.
This week Dr Laurence Buckman, chairman of the BMA’s GPs committee, said: "Dr Cundy’s comments do not represent the policy of the BMA or its GPC and are entirely his own personal remarks.
"GPC believes that it is entirely a matter for individual practices to decide whether, after careful evaluation of the processes in place in their locality, they wish to proceed with uploads to the SCR."
Dr Cundy argued that the independent evaluation of the SCR by University College, London, meant GPs could justifiably opt-out all patients.
He said: “Previously, GPs might have had to write to all their patients telling them that they were doing this. But the emerging news that the SCR is actually positively unsafe means they definitely no longer need to do this. Stopping uploads protects patients’ data and certainly does them no harm.
"Hopefully we can now start constructive discussions as to how to rebuild the English SCR along the lines of the much more successful systems in Scotland and Wales."