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Medical Records: Data Protection

Volume 478: debated on Monday 23 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what consideration he has given to bringing forward legislative proposals to prevent information recorded on the secondary users database being used in ways which may be detrimental to the person to whom the information relates. (212178)

Legislative proposals are unnecessary since information managed within the Secondary Uses Service (SUS) will be no more likely to be used in ways detrimental to the patient to whom it relates than that held elsewhere in the NHS Care Records Service, or that which was previously held in the pre-existing secondary uses services provided at local, regional and national level in the national health service.

Information held on SUS will be anonymised or pseudonymised to remove information that could be used to identify individuals but still allow cases to be tracked and linked, for example for research.

The terms and conditions on the uses of SUS data will include limitations on the disclosure of the data to third parties and the copying of data, and termination and liability clauses in the event of unauthorised disclosure of personally-identifiable information. There will also be a right of audit to verify adherence to the terms and conditions, which will be the key condition determining permission to access for those wishing to use the service.

These measures will safeguard the confidentiality of information about patients, while supporting and facilitating the use of information for the purposes for which SUS exists.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether clinicians will have an obligation to maintain a record of their dealings with patients on (a) any component of the national care records database or (b) a record which will be copied to a component of the database. (212180)

There is an obligation on doctors from their professional bodies to keep clear, accurate, legible and contemporaneous patient records. We have not put any specific obligation on clinicians to maintain records on the patient’s summary care record (SCR) but have encouraged them to include those components relating to current medications, and any allergies or adverse reactions to medications. However, patients can request that all or some of that information is not uploaded to the SCR.

It is possible that individual national health service organisations may require employed clinicians to use the system provided by the organisation for clinical record keeping, which could be part of the National Care Records System, since it may not be possible to provide some forms of care without information, for example digital images, which will be captured solely on the new systems.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) which NHS staff other than those based at the surgery at which the record was created will be able to access information in detailed care records directly; (212183)

(2) whether each patient's medical records will be recorded by the national care records service within a single detailed care record; and whether such detailed care records will be accessible by anyone in healthcare establishments other than those within which they were recorded.

Detailed care record systems are being deployed under the local direction of health communities to suit the needs of those communities. While it is possible that a patient will have a single detailed care record this may not always be the case. Patients with complex conditions or who receive care in different locations are likely to have a number of detailed care records.

Individuals from outside the general practitioner’s practice or national health service trust where a patient’s detailed care record was created will only be able to access the record where they are working within a local health community where patient records are managed through a shared detailed record system and where they have a smartcard and role profile that enables access to patient records. Staff must also have a legitimate relationship with the patient, for example because they are providing healthcare or treatment in a different setting, or they have express consent from the patient for other reasons, for example clinical research, or there is a statutory basis or court order supporting disclosure.