§ Mr. Miller
To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the proposed applications for data to he transmitted on HealthNet; and how patient consent will be obtained for these purposes. 
§ Mr. Horam
The following applications will not process patient identifiable information, so that the question of patient consent does not arise:
- purchase of and payment for supplies;
- knowledge bases;
- bulletin boards;
- statistical databases;
- clinical education and training applications.
Patient information is involved in the following applications:
- Test investigation requests and results;
- GP referrals;
- discharge information;
- shared patient record information;
- patient administration information;
- commissioning and contracting information services;
- prescription information.
In August 1994, the Department issued draft guidance on confidentiality of patient information. The guidance has been re-drafted to address many comments received, including those from the British Medical Association and the Data Protection Registrar. The guidance, which will be published shortly, will clarify who may have access to patient information and will require the national health service to inform patients about the purposes for which patient information is used. The guidance will apply to all patient information, whether conveyed on paper or via computer systems and networks. Copies of the guidance will be placed in the Library.