Trailblazing system to track children revived

A ‘trailblazer’ pilot to track children has revived plans to
create a database using NHS information that was suspended due to
legal concerns, writes Amy Taylor.

Bolton Primary Care Trust was concerned that it could be acting
illegally if it shared information with other agencies in its
identification, referral and tracking project, but after
considering legal advice it has decided to go ahead.

The PCT will now put the name, address, date of birth, gender
and name of GP of all children it has contact with on an IT
database that will be accessible to agencies involved in the
project, such as social services.

Jan Hutchinson, director of public health for Bolton PCT and
Bolton Council, said: “We feel that it’s so important that we
protect children that this database must go ahead.”

The legal advice said that there was a “respectable argument”
for the details to be passed over, but could not definitively state
that the PCT would not be acting unlawfully.

“There may be a small risk of a legal challenge, but on the
basis of the advice that we have received we think that would be
very small,” Hutchinson explained.

Kensington and Chelsea’s IRT pilot project has put plans for a
similar database on hold following Bolton’s legal advice.

New legislation to help information sharing is expected to be
included in a children’s services bill in the Queen’s Speech later
this month.

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