NHS England must carefully consider the 1 November timescale for granting patients automatic access to their prospective records, says the Royal College of GPs.
The RCGP points out that some of its members do not feel ready to implement automatic access safely for patients.
The College has released a statement saying: “The workload and workforce crisis facing general practice severely limits the ability of GPs to engage with any additional programmes of work, with priority rightly given to providing direct care for patients.
"In addition, while some improvements have been made to redaction functionality, NHS England has not yet delivered on all of the technical solutions the College proposed last year. Concerns have also been raised that other parts of the healthcare system are not sufficiently informed about what this means for their communications with general practice and about the implications of automation for the role of GPs as data controllers."
The RCGP further states: "It is appropriate that practices that feel ready to do so proceed with expanding record access, but the College would never encourage practices to go ahead with a course of action that they feel would jeopardise patient safety."
It advises practices to consider their "preparedness and capacity" to redact sensitive information safely and decide whether to delay access in order to prepare further. The college provides information in its GP online services toolkit on how to apply opt-out codes to prevent automatic access to patients for whom it is considered unsafe.
It concludes that before confirming go-live, NHS England must carefully consider the timescale in the light of the latest information about the situation on the ground.
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