In an eleventh-hour decision NHS England has halted the automatic, blanket roll-out of a scheme that would have given all NHS patients in England prospective online access to their GP-held records the day before it was due to come in.
The high-profile scheme to enable patents to automatically view their GP records via the NHS app by 30 November, has been a key digital promise by successive Conservative health secretaries.
The last-minute u-turn came following a series of talks between the British Medical Association (BMA) and NHS England, in which the BMA made clear many practices would not be ready to roll out the programme in a safe way for patients, and that it didn’t comply with their data protection obligations.
The BMA says the decision is the ‘right thing to do’ for patient safety.
The BMA said in a statement that while some practices were ready to implement this, many expressed concerns over safety aspects and that it wasn’t fit for purpose at the present time.
Dr David Wrigley, deputy chair of GPC England at the BMA, said: “We’re pleased to hear that NHS England has decided to review the pace and timing of the automatic, mass roll-out of the Citizens’ Access programme. This is, without doubt, the right thing to do for patient safety.
“We want patients to be able to access their GP medical records, but this must be done carefully, with the appropriate safeguards in place to protect them from any potential harm.
“The deadline of 30 November was, for many practices, just too soon to do this, and removing it will come as a huge relief to GPs and their teams across the country.”
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Source: Digital Health, 30 November 2022