The RCGP has advised GPs to consider delaying automatic access to records through the NHS app for patient safety reasons.
But RCGP said that some GPs “do not feel ready to safely implement automatic access for patients” before the planned roll-out date of November 1.
He added that this is “despite their best efforts to prepare and despite the College’s work to support them in this.”
The RCGP advised practices to consider whether they can “securely” allow access to records, and if not, “delay access to further prepare.”
He said: ‘It is appropriate for practices that feel ready to do so to proceed with expanding access to records, but the College would never encourage practices to proceed with a course of action which they feel would jeopardize patient safety. .
‘Practices should consider the benefits of providing access to records compared to their own level of preparedness and ability to redact sensitive information securely, and decide whether to delay access to further prepare.’
He added that his GP Online Services Toolkit describes ‘how to apply opt-out codes to prevent automatic access for patients deemed unsafe’.
And the RCGP urged England’s NHS to “consider carefully” whether the launch should go ahead as planned.
He said: “Practices to address these risks should not be left alone and before confirming roll-out, NHS England should carefully consider the timetable in light of the latest information on the situation on the ground.”
He added: ‘The College has always supported the principle of expanded access to records and the benefits that patient access to records offers in terms of self-management, health outcomes and patient satisfaction.
“However, we have also recognized the additional risks that automation brings and over the past year have consistently highlighted the importance of practice readiness, secure writing technology and consideration of the most vulnerable patients.”
The RCGP expressed concern that:
- The ‘workload and workforce crisis’ facing GPs ‘severely limits GPs’ ability to engage in any additional work schedules, prioritizing direct patient care’
- Despite ‘some improvements’ to drafting functionality, NHS England ‘has not yet delivered all the technical solutions that the College proposed last year’
- Other parts of the health system are “insufficiently informed” about what the implementation means for their communications with general practice and the implications of automation for GPs’ role as data controllers.
It said: “The College has communicated these concerns to NHS England on a regular basis and highlighted the responsibility of NHS England to fully consider the risks associated with this program and the legal basis under which it is implemented.”
Pulse has approached NHS England for comment.
the BMA has also asked for the change to be delayed again and said it is having “urgent discussions” about the new requirements, with guidance due to be issued imminently.
NHS Digital first intended to patients whose practices use TPP to be the first to have access to new entries in their GP notes via national health service app from December 2021, with EMIS practices to follow this year.
Meanwhile, last week it was revealed that GP practices registering new patients will have to repeat the work already done by the previous practice of writing their registration..
In addition to possible access to records, Pulse revealed earlier this month that NHS England plans to allow patients to request their historical GP records via the NHS app from next year.