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BMA cautions practices against “selling” patient records

20 August 2007

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The British Medical Association (BMA) is warning GP practices against signing up for screening services with a private healthcare company.

Health Screen Clinic pays GP clinics twice, first for access to their patient records and secondly for the practice space at weekends, in which they carry out screening tests.

But the BMA says that practices who accept this money could be breaking their General or Personal Medical Services contract in relation to fees and charges.

Involving a private company in the practice’s operations and accepting rent payments goes beyond the rules set out in the Premises Directions, they say.

The BMA also warns that practices involved with Health Screen Clinics may be in breach of the Data Protection Act.

Patient data is held as part of practices’ NHS contracts and patients have not consented to their personal data being used for advertising purposes.

Finally, practices may be deemed in breech of their General Medical Council (GMC) “Good Medical Practice”. If so, they could be prosecuted under “fitness to practice” procedures.

The BMA concludes that practices that do accept the offer of private screening services are involving themselves in “significant risks”.

British Medical Association