This site is intended for health professionals only ‘boycott’ threatened

24 September 2013

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GPs are threatening to boycott the scheme which would see patient information sent to a central database. 

The General Practice Extraction Service (GPES) is Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s project. He believes that sharing GP records with universities and private companies will be valuable for medical research and screening for common diseases. 

But GPs from the Northumberland Local Medical Council (LMC) said that NHS England has failed to properly inform patients about the scheme. 

According to Dr Jane Lothian, medical secretary of the LMC, patients were not getting “an informed choice”. 

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She said: “With anything but very common conditions, people are identifiable.” 

Northumberland LMC is considering a county-wide ‘opt out’ as are other LMCs. 

Dr Bruce Hughes, chairman of Devon LMC, said GPs were “almost duty bound” to automatically opt-out of sending their patients’ medical records if they felt strongly about it.

An NHS England spokesman said: “The programme will provide vital information to approved organisations about the quality of health services.”

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