The creation of a central NHS digital database from GP records in England will be delayed by two months, the government has announced.
The system was due to begin on 1 July, but the date has now been pushed back to 1 September.
Some readers of Roseland Online have joined others voicing concerns reported in the media over the NHS Digital plans, which would put the medical histories of more than 55 million patients into a database available to academic and commercial third parties for research and planning purposes.
Privacy campaigners have already spoken out against the proposals, which include sharing anonymised mental and sexual health data, criminal records, and more sensitive information. The records would be extracted from every patient in England registered to a GP clinic by NHS Digital, which runs the country’s healthcare IT systems.
We put these concerns to Nicola Davies, Practice Manager at Roseland Surgeries. Nicola has provided a great deal of information in the attached document. Speaking to Roseland Online, Nicola said that she was concerned that misinformation circulating around the ‘selling’ of patient data may direct patients into a path that they didn’t need to worry about. She told us that the NHS had said categorically:
- You can opt out at any time – there is no deadline
- They only share data to improve health and care
- Health and care data helps the NHS respond to emergencies like the coronavirus outbreak
- There are lots of protections in place to make sure patient data is used securely and safely
- They do not sell health and care data
- They do not share data with marketing and insurance companies
You may wish to take time to read all information provided above before making a decision on whether to opt out of sharing your data. Should that be your wish, you can either complete the NHS opt out form or a shorter local version provided by Nicola.