Tuesday, 18 August 2015

NHS England`s plans for pharmacies to obtain sensitive data from GP surgeries

From the Telegraph:

"High street pharmacies such as Boots, Tesco and Superdrug will be given access to NHS medical records, under a national scheme which privacy campaigners fear could expose patients to "hard sell" tactics."

"Health officials have drawn up plans to send sensitive data from GP surgeries to pharmacies across the country, starting this autumn, without considering the views of patients."

"NHS England says the scheme will ease pressures on family doctors, and improve the care given to patients in the High Street."

"But campaigners fear major commercial chains will be able to exploit the valuable data, and use it to push the sales of their products. "

"Officials have now ordered the national rollout of the scheme, on the basis of an evaluation of pilots in 140 pharmacies which they say showed "significant benefits".

"But the official report, seen by The Daily Telegraph, shows that the research garnered responses from just 15 patients a sample so small that their views were discarded from the research."

"The scheme got the green light, after the pharmacists involved in the pilots gave it their backing."

From medConfidential:

"The Telegraph, followed up by the Independent and Daily Mail, reports today that Boots and other pharmacies including the large supermarket pharmacies may from this Autumn be granted access to the Summary Care Record*. There are concerns that such access may be used for marketing purposes. Further details will likely follow in due course."

"Under current rules, patients should always be asked for their consent what is called "Permission To View" before anyone looks at their Summary Care Record. How the high street pharmacies, and their commercial managers with their incentives to cross-sell remedies, will make this work in practice is an open question."

"Safeguards that may operate in a hospital context are going to have to be applied to a whole range of other (possibly non-medically registered) people, who must all be properly trained and rigorously audited on an ongoing basis. A considerable investment must be made if pharmacies are to be given access and patient confidentiality and consent is to be maintained. A report of a pilot scheme earlier this year found, for example, that:"

"The principles around asking patients for permission to view (PTV) their SCR and its practical application for some prevalent patient groups in the pharmacy setting caused confusion and uncertainty.."

"If you have a Summary Care Record (around 94% of the population do) and you are concerned that your record may be misused or abused, you can opt-out of the scheme..."

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