Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/03/18/nhs_trust_patient_records/

Health trust pushing on with record sharing

Long-term sick targeted

By John Oates

Posted in Government, 18th March 2009 08:02 GMT

West Kent Primary Care Trust is pushing ahead with a scheme which will give limited access to health records to nurses from Bupa despite privacy fears.

But the Trust said it is following best practice privacy policy, and will stick with asking patients to opt out rather than opt in to the service.

CareCall is a phone service. Nurses target certain groups of patients, like those recently released from hospital, those with diabetes or asthma for example. But this raised fears that Bupa nurses are effectively being given access to all patient records within West Kent.

Although everyone in the Trust is by default opted in to the service, you can opt out at any time. CareCall staff will only get access to names, addresses, phone numbers and long-term conditions.

An NHS West Kent spokesman said: “NHS West Kent and Bupa Health Dialog – our partners in CareCall – have a robust process for patient data handling which is NHS compliant and adheres to Caldicott standards.

“The process has been approved by the Local Medical Committee for West Kent and externally validated by our external legal advisers, Capsticks, after close scrutiny of the systems and governance in place... Evidence shows that taking an opt-out approach enables more people to benefit from the service, particularly those who are from communities that the NHS often finds hard to reach."

But patients can opt out of the service at any time.

Once contact has been made between a patient and a "Health Coach" the patient can ring and ask for them by name or leave a voicemail if they are not available. Patients can also choose to speak to a different adviser.

Health Coaches are all qualified UK registered nurses specifically trained in being a Health Coach. ®