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NHS England requests data access extension

30 September 2013

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Three section 251 exemption requests have been submitted by NHS England so that commissioners will be able to access confidential patient data for another year. 

Many clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) claim patient identifiable data (PID) is needed to properly fulfil their core purpose. 

However, Dame Fiona Caldicott believes that the information should only be used for direct patient care. 

Earlier this month the government’s official response to Dame Fiona’s review confirmed that commissioners do not need access to PID. 

But it has been revealed NHS England submitted an application to the Confidentiality Advisory Group to allow CCGs to continue to use identifiable data past the stated deadline of 31 October 2013. 

The exemptions allied for would cover a clinical audit of Winterbourne View Hospital, an extension of the current exemption and “additional commissioning purposes”. 

Currently all commissioning support units have submitted their request to the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) to become an accredited safe haven, with access to PID. 

The HSCIC’s latest board papers state: “The outstanding activity for the CSUs is to complete the data sharing contract and data sharing agreements as stipulated in the s251 approved by the Confidentiality Advisory Group.

“Some CCGs, those which are not aligned with CSUs, have similarly commenced, but not completed the ASH registration process.”