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Halt patient access to medical records if there are safety concerns, BMA tells GPs

General practices should delay rolling out the accelerated citizens’ access programme, due to go live on 1 November, if they have concerns over safety, the BMA has said.

In guidance published on 25 October the BMA’s General Practitioners Committee said that while many practices would be able to implement the scheme before the deadline some would need more time to prepare, to ensure that they can roll it out in line with the Data Protection Act and safeguarding measures.

The access scheme, led by NHS England, will automatically give patients the ability to see any new entries to their GP medical record through the NHS App.

As part of safeguarding practices it will require GPs to review each record to identify any safety concerns related to providing patient access, such as in cases of domestic violence or coercive relationships. Where there are safeguarding concerns, practices can prevent patients from having automatic access by adding a specific SNOMED code to the patient’s record before 1 November 2022.

David Wrigley, deputy chair of the BMA’s GP Committee for England, said, “We have a duty of care to speak up when patient safety is at risk, which is why we encourage practices even slightly unsure about whether they can deliver this programme before the start of November, to refer to our guidance. Our patients are at the heart of what we do, and we will always act in their best interests.”

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Source: BMJ, 26 October 2022


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