Index to conceal some user details

Mental health, sexual health and substance misuse practitioners will not automatically be identified on the proposed children’s information-sharing index in England.

After concerns were raised about risks to patient confidentiality, junior education minister Lord Adonis announced last week that the practitioners’ details would only be included if they gave consent.

Where consent has been given, the index will only tell other professionals that an “unspecified, sensitive service” is working with a child.

Teams managing the index will be able to access the practitioners’ details and “broker” contact between professionals.

Current regulations covering the disclosure of information about sexually transmitted infections would prohibit practitioners working in this area from including their details on the index, even with consent.

But Adonis said the Department of Health would consult on changing these regulations well before the index is implemented in 2008.


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