NHS Isle of Wight is to use INPS’s Vision 360 to share summary information from GP records with its walk-in centre, out-of-hours service and A&E department from the beginning of November.

The primary care trust this week wrote to all 149,000 patients registered with a GP on the island to inform them of the information sharing plans and their right to opt out.

The letter, which includes an opt-out form, says information sharing will help clinical decision making, reduce duplication of tests and requests for information and reduce the risk of errors.

It adds that information sharing will be limited to the Isle of Wight. It says: “We want to assure you this development on the island is not connected in any way to national initiatives to share records and, for such direct access, the medical professional will still need to ask your permission.”

A spokesman for NHS Isle of Wight told EHI Primary Care that information sharing would begin in the A&E department at St Mary’s Hospital in Newport and at the Beacon Health Centre; a walk-in centre and base for the island’s out-of-hours service.

He added: “It is likely to get widened to other NHS services on the island, but discussions are still on-going on that. It looks like the diabetes centre is going to be one of the early movers as receiving doctors feel there would be benefit in seeing the GP summary record.”

The spokesman said patients had been given until 31 October to opt out and data sharing was due to begin on 1 November. However, patients will be able to opt-out at any time after that.

All 17 GP practices on the Isle of Wight use Vision 3 from INPS, as does the walk-in centre. The primary care trust bought Vision 360 from the company earlier in the year to enable information sharing.

Vision 360 is INPS’s secure data hub, which gathers information from Vision 3 practices and other sources and makes it available for sharing.

Its biggest deployment to date has been in Tayside. Scotland, where the vast majority of the 60 plus practices use Vision 3. It is also being used in Wales for the Individual Health Record project.

Paul Dubery, NHS Isle of Wight deputy director for IM&T, said the PCT was seeking to create a fully integrated healthcare system for island residents which shared information between GPs and other NHS clinicians.

He added: “We are aware that not everyone wants their information shared. We have decided therefore that the sharing of information will be limited to island services and we have been careful to ensure that patients have the opportunity to opt out of the system.”

Dr Rakesh Chopra, a GP in Cowes, said the system had clear benefits but patients who wished to opt out could so by completing the form in a leaflet enclosed with the letter informing them about the scheme.

He added: “We hope however that the majority of people will understand the benefits to them and those treating them of having access to this information.”