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Health and Social Care Act 2001

Section 61: Patient Information Advisory Group

310.This section requires the Secretary of State to establish, by regulations, a committee to be known as the Patient Information Advisory Group. The Secretary of State is required to seek and have regard to the views of this Advisory Group prior to laying draft regulations before Parliament under section 60(1) or making regulations under section 60(4)(b).

311.The work of the Advisory Group is intended to provide an additional safeguard for patients as regards use of the power provided by section 60, complementing the safeguards included within that section. Before draft regulations under section 60(1) are laid before Parliament or regulations under section 60(4)(b) are made, the advice of the Advisory Group must be sought. The Secretary of State is required to publish the views of the Advisory Group.

312.In recognition that there may be other issues arising in relation to the processing of patient information, or other information obtained or generated through health service provision, the section also allows the Secretary of State to seek the views of the Advisory Group on these wider matters. It is envisaged that the Advisory Group’s views will be sought on a range of issues pertaining to the confidentiality of patient information and standards of processing such information.

313.It is intended that professional and patient groups will be consulted on appointments to the Advisory Group and its proceedings.

314.A detailed commentary on the subsections of section 61 is set out below.

315.Subsection (1) requires the Secretary of State to establish by regulations the Patient Information Advisory Group as soon as reasonably practicable after Royal Assent.

316.Subsection (2) requires the Secretary of State to seek and have regard to the views of the Advisory Group prior to laying draft regulations before Parliament under section 60(1) or making regulations under section 60(4)(b).

317.Subsection (3) gives the Advisory Group the function of providing advice on wider patient and health service information issues at the request of the Secretary of State.

318.Subsection (4) specifies particular matters that may be contained in the regulations that establish the Advisory Group.

319.Subsection (5) places a duty on the Secretary of State to publish, in an appropriate manner, the advice provided to him by the Advisory Group on proposed regulations.

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