This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

pul jul aug2020 cover 80x101px
Read the latest issue online

Independents' Day

GPs urged to 'proactively' support NHS data-sharing publicity campaign starting next week

GPs are being urged to ‘proactively’ inform their patients about how their medical records will be shared inside and outside the NHS, as managers prepare to launch a publicity campaign next week on their flagship programme.

An update on the NHS England website says that from Monday, all patients in England will be sent a patient information leaflet, explaining how their personal data will be used, the potential benefits for them and the NHS and their right not to share confidential data if they choose not to.

NHS England bowed to confidentiality concerns and announced a £2m publicity campaign to inform patients about their plans to extract and share patient data last year.

The leaflets will be delivered in four waves across different regions, starting with the North next week, followed by the Midlands and East, the South and London in subsequent weeks.

Patients will have at least one month to read the leaflet and to register an objection with their practice, if they choose to opt out of sharing their data before the first planned extraction of data beginning in March. will see the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) routinely extracting identifiable patient data from GP practices and hospitals. It will then be shared with other sections of the NHS and potentially other third parties in pseudonymised form - and if certain conditions are met and approval is given, may even be shared in identifiable form.

NHS England says most patients will be able to access enough information from the leaflets and through an accompanying telephone helpline, but says GPs will need to able to provide advice if patients ask for further information.

NHS England called on practices to keep raising awareness of the data sharing scheme ‘proactively’ with their patients.

The update states: ‘It is important that GP practices continue to raise awareness proactively with their patients about the ways in which patient information is used and shared beyond direct care.’

NHS England has also produced a set of FAQs for both GPs and patients to support the information campaign.

Please note: This article was changed on 03/01/14 to indicate that personalised data would only be passed onto NHS bodies or third parties only under certain conditions, and would not be routine under the scheme.

Related images

  • Computer Keyboard IT JClaxton 300x330 - online

Readers' comments (5)

  • Hang on a minute, what about asking the patient for consent first?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Neil Bhatia

    No mention of the phrase "" in the leaflet ( except right at the end as part of an url ...


    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • CCGs cannot have patient identfiable data to ensure that patients get good care. If you don't opt out before 1st April your data will be available to any private company for £1. Completely barking mad.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I understand that sensitive data is not extracted. If this has been recorded as freetext inside a code which is extracted, is the freetext extracted???

    Is any freetext extracted OR is it just codes??

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Suggest get media savvy and produce a youtube promo, to dispel myths and cover all the legal issues.
    If it is "simples" this would demystfy the complexity.
    If this is for care planning and not for acute use.. just pseudo annoymise at time of extract... using same algorithm for each extracted source.
    The HES data gets morphed to CES, but this should come back as feed to GP systems, so at point of care we might stand a chance of unpicking the costs and complexity as well as checking validity of tariff ...

    a lot of this may be a good idea, but central presentation of the project seems to be done on the cheap.

    IC needs to have a legal judgement on whether the mail drop fulfils DPA requirements . It is not one to dodge or dump on GP's

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say