As a practice, we wanted to make you aware that we have stopped providing full online access to patient records. The current contractual requirement of GP practices is to provide detailed coded online access for patients, the 2020/2021 GP contract does add in a requirement to provide full online access to patients on the condition that appropriate redaction software is available, unfortunately, due to the pandemic, national work on the redaction software has been pushed back and so there is no appropriate redaction software available. Our Data Protection Officer has been working in the background to raise concerns over a conflict between adhering to data protection legislation and complying with full online access requests. This is because full online access is a type of subject access request and there is a legal obligation on GP Practices to ensure that the exemptions set out in law are adhered to. For example, third party, serious harm, and child abuse exemptions.
Determining whether an exemption applies requires specialist knowledge and training, currently, when a request is submitted, dedicated staff have time to go through the record to confirm whether an exemption applies, this can include requiring input from DPO, and third-party health or social care organisations involved in patient care. Full online access does not currently allow for that level of review to occur as the information is available immediately to patients.
Due to the current pandemic, the practice does not have the resources to provide this specialist training to all staff and support them to be able to navigate complex exemptions for every patient upload in a timely manner. Therefore, in line with guidance from our DPO we are pausing full online records access. The practice is happy to provide you with a copy of your records through the usual request route when you need them, and we can provide you with detailed coded access should you not already have this.
This does not affect your ability to book appointments, order medication or review current allergies / medication online. It is only the access to free text uploads that is being halted.