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Medicopolitical Digest

BMA writes to NHS trusts about confidentialitySupraregional services have new advisersBMA is worried about reserve forces' trainingGPs to have guidance on care in the communityBMA updates its briefing on private finance initiative

BMJ 1996; 312 doi: (Published 03 February 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;312:316
  1. Linda Beecham

    BMA writes to NHS trusts about confidentiality

    Until the NHS adopts a comprehensive and security policy for protecting the confidentiality of identifiable health information the BMA is advising doctors to defer considering links to the NHS wide network. The BMA has published its own security policy document (13 January, p 109) but after the Department of Health refused to amend its proposals the chairman of the BMA council, Dr Sandy Macara, wrote to chief executives of NHS trusts, executive directors of health authorities and family health services authorities, and directors of public health warning them that the current proposals for the NHS wide network would “permanently destroy the individual's right to privacy and radically alter the nature of the doctor/patient relationship.”

    Dr Macara says that widespread concerns about the risks are shared by patient and health care professional organisations alike. He explains that the BMA, whose members are bound by the General Medical Council to protect patient confidentiality, has actively pursued its concerns by developing a security policy, which lays down a series of principles applicable to both paper and computer based information systems.

    As we went to press a confidentiality bill was due to have its first reading in the House of Lords on 30 January. The Disclosure and Use of Personal Health Information Bill, which will be introduced by Lord Walton of Detchant, a former president of the BMA, was drafted by the association to clarify the law in England and Wales relating to the collection, use, and disclosure of personal health information. Nothing …

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