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19-11-2012 | General practice | Article

GPC hits out at online access plans

Abstract

BMA

medwireNews: BMA GP leaders have strongly criticised the Government's aim to give patients online access to their GP records by 2015, saying the rush to implement it "could harm patients and distort care".

GPC Chair Dr Laurence Buckman said that they had warned the Government in January of their concerns before the goal was included in the NHS Mandate, unveiled last week.

The Committee is particularly concerned about confidentiality and the potential for "abusive spouses, overbearing parents, insurance companies and employers" to put pressure on patients to reveal information on their GP record.

Dr Buckman said: "I can imagine that there are plenty of parents who would try to get access to their teenaged children's records to find out who's had sex… or who is doing drugs, or any one of a number of things."

GP leaders and the GMC also have reservations about email consultations, Dr Buckman added, including the concern that GPs may not be able to capture discursive aspects crucial to a proper consultation, as well as the risk people could assume other's identities.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA GP negotiator, said that having online access in the NHS Mandate means it "has now become a political imperative with a deadline", even though the RCGP is still developing plans for it.

The RCGP is putting its proposals together with other medical royal colleges, patient groups, the BMA, the Department of Health and the NHS Commissioning Board.

medwireNews is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2012

By Caroline Price