Scottish GPs could block data-sharing

Health professionals could obstruct Scottish executive plans to enable agencies to share their records on children.

The Joint Inspection of Children’s Services and Inspection of Social Work Services (Scotland) Bill would allow health, education and social work agencies to access each other’s records of children to carry out audits of child protection procedures.

But Graham Donaldson, senior chief inspector of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Education, said trials of the measures in East Dunbartonshire and Highland councils were undermined by health authorities refusing access to their records “because they were not convinced they had the legal basis to release information”.

“Inspectors were unable to fully evaluate the contribution made by health services to the well-being of children in the pilot authorities,” he told the Scottish parliament’s education committee, which is reviewing the bill.

He said that the prime source of evidence about the experiences of children and how well professionals were working within and across boundaries “requires a sample of records from individual agencies backed up by the power to discuss individual cases with professionals.”

GPs say the proposal breaches their confidentiality commitment to patients.

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