Patient confidentiality rules relaxed to help fight COVID-19

  • Department of Health and Social Care

  • curated by Dawn O'Shea
  • UK Medical News
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The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has relaxed the rules on sharing confidential patient information so that health care bodies can provide information to each other to help fight Covid-19.

The Secretary of State, Matt Hancock, has issued four notices under the Health Service Control of Patient Information Regulations 2002 requiring the following organisations to process the information:

  • NHS Digital,
  • NHS England and Improvement,
  • health organisations,
  • arm’s length bodies,
  • local authorities, and
  • GPs.

There is also a specific requirement related to the UK Biobank project.

Organisations are only required to process confidential patient information where the information is required for a Covid-19 purpose and will be processed solely for that Covid-19 purpose. In addition, NHS England and Improvement will require a request from an authorised officer of the DHSC acting or an organisation permitted to process confidential information under Regulation 3(3) of Control of Patient Information Regulations 2002 (the Requestor).

The DHSC has also written to GP practices who are using information technology systems supplied by The Phoenix Partnership or Egton Medical Information Systems to require them to release primary care patient data, in respect of UK Biobank’s consented participants only, to the UK Biobank.

The orders will apply until 30 September 2020.