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Category: Medico political issues



Consent form for the disclosure of medical records to solicitors

The BMA and Law Society have updated the joint template consent form for the disclosure of medical records to solicitors (for use in England and Wales). The template has undergone a refresh so that it reflects the General Data Protection Regulation. The aim of the template is to help improve the process of seeking consent and to ensure that patients are well informed about these disclosures. You can access the template form here and it is also available within the BMA's guidance on access to health records, and as part of the ethics A-Z - under C.

Supreme Court judgement in Darnley v Croydon - lessons

The full details are at which concerned a patient who suffered severe disability as a result of receiving inaccurate information about how long it would take the triage nurse in A&E to see him.

The Supreme Court overturned the judgements of lower courts and held that:

  • A patient is owed a common law duty of care from the moment they are booked in - before even they are triaged or treated. 
  • This duty applies to medical and non-medical staff alike, although non-medical staff will not be judged to counsels of perfection but to the more reasonable standard of "that of an averagely competent and well-informed person performing the function of a receptionist at a department providing emergency medical care".

Thus, those providers who operate services for patients presenting to emergency departments, urgent care centres, minor injuries units and walk in clinics will need to review their current operating procedures.  Where there is a procedure in place for triaging those patients, patients should be informed of that and the likely timeframe within which that triage will take place. That information could be provided either orally by reception and other 'first contact' staff, by leaflet, or by displaying a prominent notice.  In whichever way, that information must be accurate.  As ever, clear documentation of the advice given to patients about likely timescales to be seen would be extremely valuable in the event of subsequent complaints or claims.

Addressing of correspondence

It is important that communications from the hospital go to the right GP.  Usually the reply to an appointment request, test results or discharge summaries should go to the GP who arranged for the appointment, test, or course of care.  Note, however, that when a locum GP makes such a request the locum GP should state on the referral etc the name and contact details of the GP to whom a response should be sent.  

Homely remedies in care homes

Some practices are reporting that they are receiving increasingly detailed requests from care homes about 'homely remedies', requesting a GP to sign a form for the administration of these remedies.  The GPC Prescribing Policy Group's advice is:

"We approve of patients in residential homes or other such environments self-caring or receiving over-the-counter (OTC) medicines as all other people do, although we recognise that their frailty does bring special problems. Many care homes are introducing these policies, sometimes with the approval of local medicines management schemes, and GPs are being asked to complete the paperwork as an alternative to receiving inappropriate prescription requests.  The main problem, however, is that there is no guarantee that the circumstances that were present when the form was signed still apply when the OTC medicine is to be used, and there is a real danger that these forms will not be updated when patients' circumstances change.

Therefore, it is safest if OTC medicines are available to care home residents after the input of a community pharmacist, where possible from the same pharmacy that supplies the patient's normal medication. This is an appropriate use of a pharmacist's skills, within their competence, and is in line with the low value medicines agenda."

That said, these forms are non-contractual, unnecessary and exist solely as a result of the nursing home's policies. They are thus both excessive and unfounded and so may be refused or charged for. To sugar the pill practices may wish to take the line, 'This is unsafe because... but you could do ...'

Membership of the LMC

We are very conscious that more and more GPs are taking up sessional work.  Nearly a fifth of GPs working in the county are now locums.  Currently we only have one sessional GP (Dr Jethro Hubbard) on our Committee but would be interested in hearing if other sessional GPs might wish to be involved.  If you are then do contact the LMC Office.

LMC data privacy notice

Gloucestershire Local Medical Committee provides advice and support to GPs and practice managers in the county.  We hold names, email addresses, sometimes telephone numbers and, occasionally, other personal data in order to do this.  We also maintain contact with other organisations for mutual support and advice. 

The legal basis (under the EU's General Data Protection Regulation, to be enacted by the 2018 Data Protection Bill now going through Parliament) under which we hold this personal data is the shared legitimate interest of all parties that this communication should continue to be given and received.

The normal system has been that practice managers will let us have the email addresses of GPs when they join the practice as we have no access to the NHS Global Address List.  We intend this arrangement to continue, subject to the restrictions below.

  • If we wish to do any data processing beyond what is necessary to provide you with information or support we will seek your specific consent.  In particular we will not share your personal data with anyone without asking your permission first.
  • You can ask for a copy of the personal data we hold on you, which you can have within 30 days.
  • You have the right to 'be forgotten' but if you ask us to delete your contact details you will no longer receive any communications or benefits from us.
  • If your email address or other item of personal data that you know we hold should change, or if we have it wrong in the first place, please let us know so that we can correct it.
  • If you leave medical practice in the county, give up work in the county or simply move away we should be grateful if you would tell us of your intention so that we can remove your personal data from our records - we have no wish to keep them longer than we must.

We hold your data electronically, password protected, on a secure off-site server.  The Office is locked whenever it is not occupied.  Regular and frequent backups are maintained securely.

General Practice Forward View (GPFV)


The BMA website has been updated with a specific section for the GP Forward View. They have pulled everything into one hub page and any updates/new information/guidance specific to the GP Forward View will be linked through this central page.




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