Data Protection Impact Assessment for the NHS England Accelerated Access Programme

Posted by: amirhannan - Posted on:

The NHS has announced that patients with online accounts such as through the NHS App will be able to read new entries, including free text, in their health record. This change only applies to future (prospective) record entries and not historic data.

Full access to the GP electronic health record is better than prospective access when responsibly shared

Haughton Thornley Medical Centres goes much further and safely by responsibley sharing the information we have about you. We have been providing full access to the GP electronic health record since 2004 which includes prospective access as well as retrospective access through an explicit consent process.

The late Ingrid Brindle talking about a patient perspective on shared electronic health records at The Kings Fund in 2014
at Realising the potential of primary care -The role of general practice

“We are fortunate at Haughton Thornley Medical Centres who responsibly share our records with us. We have full access to our records and can share them with whom we like anywhere in the world as well as checking up on our health whenever we need to. It is increasingly important for us and our loved ones to self care and support the NHS as best as we can”

Dominic Sexton

Chair, Haughton Thornley Medical Centres

Over 10,000 patients (81% of all our patient population) have already done and this and now we want those who have yet to do this, to do the same.

If you or your loved ones have not yet done so then please

  1. Complete a short 2 minute questionnaire
  2. We will review your answers, check your GP electronic health record, answer any questions or queries you may have and then switch on the access and send you a personalised text message to confirm this for you

We encourage you to sign up for full access to the records and understanding and then use the resources found on this website that signpost you to trusted information to help you get the best from the practice. We try to write in the records in a way that helps you to understand them and offer advice and support if you find errors or information that is missing as well as making it easy for you to contact the surgery if you need more help.

This is the Gold Standard for patient access to records and we have been doing this for over 18 years now, sharing our knowledge and experience with others. You can view our Fair Processing Notice here.

Haughton Thornley Medical Centres formally completed its Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA) for the NHS England Accelerated Access Programme on 11th October 2023 following a meeting of the Partners present, practice manager, members of the Patient Participation Group and our Data Protection Officer. It was a robust meeting lasting 1 hour where we discussed the scenarios and potential risks and also considered the mitigations that could help reduce the risk. Following this we determined a course of action that best fits the needs of our patient population whilst remaining within the law.

It was a useful exercise to understand the risks and has led to a 6 point plan for what we do next including:

  • updating our practice website to inform patients what we have done,
  • invite all patients to register for full records access and understanding through our explicit consent process (over 2,000 patients) who will be put into a waiting list for us to process with the limited resources we have at our disposal,
  • add 103 codes for those who do not want access under any circumstance and
  • add 104 codes for all the rest who have yet to sign up but have not yet done so,
  • review our processes for redaction to ensure all staff (clinical and admin) are aware of what we should do when we see letters in docman and
  • share our DPIA with others so that all are aware we have done this and encourage other GP practices to go through a similar exercise before 31st October.