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NHS data sharing failure ‘exasperating and could cause error’

PUBLISHED

Significant concerns about the NHS’ refusal to share data with councils have emerged in a letter from a leading council chief executive and clinical commissioning group accountable officer. 

Steven Pleasant, chief executive of Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council and accountable officer of Tameside and Glossop CCG, said the failures are “becoming increasingly exasperating”, in a letter intended for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s shielding sounding board.

Steven said he understands NHS Digital has decided the most recent version of the list cannot be shared with councils even though it is being shared with police, fire, voluntary organisations and companies offering logistical support.

“I am sure that you will appreciate that this is counterproductive and frustrating given that local authorities are leading and coordinating the response to the most vulnerable in communities,” he wrote.

He also raised concerns about how the NHS’ shielded patients team is passing on to councils information about people needing additional support — for instance, if the recipient’s food parcel stock is running low, requiring the council to step in. Welfare concerns and medication information could also need to be passed on. Mr Pleasant said although his council had asked for this information to be provided via email, staff “have been told by the NHS shielding team that they do not have permission to do this and that details can only be provided verbally over the phone”.

“We believe this significantly increases the chances of error and presents significant risk… around incorrect information being captured,” he wrote.

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Source: HSJ, 21 April 2020

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