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A faulty production line

Pulse's survey results

Results from Pulse’s survey of 430 doctors on the implementation of

The scheme is currently on hold with extracts now not due to take place until the autumn. Do you believe that patients should have to provide explicit consent (ie opt-in) before records are extracted from practices?

Yes – 321 (74.65%)

No – 82 (19.07%)

Don’t know – 27 (6.28%

Total answered – 430


Which of the following measures do you think NHS England should take when seeking to further inform patients about the scheme?


Send a second unaddressed information leaflet to every household

Yes – 112 (27.59%)

No – 256 (63.05%)

Don’t know – 38 (9.36%)

Total answered – 406


Send an addressed letter to patients

Yes – 277 (66.27%)

No – 115 (27.51%)

Don’t know – 26 (6.22%)

Total answered – 418


Send new publicity material for practices to use to inform patients

Yes – 298 (70.95%)

No – 106 (25.24%)

Don’t know – 16 (3.81%)


Make it easier for patients to opt out e.g. include an opt-out form

Yes – 382 (89.88%)

No – 33 (7.76%)

Don’t know – 10 (2.35%)

Total answered – 425


Launch a national TV and radio advertising campaign

Yes – 369 (86.82%)

No – 45 (10.59%)

Don’t know – 11 (2.59%)

Total answered – 425


Rewrite the publicity material to make the implications of sharing clearer to patients

Yes – 375 (89.29%)

No – 32 (7.62%)

Don’t know – 13 (3.10%)

Total answered – 420


Some GPs with concerns about have opted all of their patients out of data-sharing by default unless the patients choose to opt in. If extracts proceed in the autumn after a renewed publicity campaign but with no substantive changes to the data-sharing or consent model, do you intend to automatically opt out all of your patients?

Yes – 34 (7.91%)

No – 240 (55.81%)

Don’t know – 156 (36.28%)

Total answered - 430


About the survey: Pulse launched this survey of readers on 24 February 2013, collating responses using the SurveyMonkey tool. The 29 questions asked covered a wide range of GP topics, to avoid selection bias on any one issue. The survey was advertised to readers via our website and email newsletters, with a prize draw for a Samsung HD TV as an incentive to complete the survey.

As part of the survey, respondents were asked to specify their job title. A small number of non-GPs were screened out to analyse the results for this question. These questions were answered by 430 GPs.

Readers' comments (6)

  • Come on GPs be brave, stand up for your patients by thinking again about being willing to opt all of your patients out. I am almost certain that your communities would be willing to collect a large number of small donations in order to create a fighting fund for any legal threats you might face.
    Please do not be cowed by this bullying.
    If the government want the help of the public for the research purposes it claims are the basis for this data extraction exercise; it can ask - openly, honestly, without coercion or emotional blackmail, for each individual patient to freely offer access to the data held in their confidential medical record.

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  • Tom Caldwell

    Come on anonymous think about it. If a GP does not do as they are obliged to do by government and is taken to court they will risk the loss of their career.

    The risk of breaching contract; reporting to and censure by GMC; removal from CCG provider lists and local performers list.... how brave do you want us to be?

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  • But if a large number of GPs and their patients stand together?????

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  • The first in the queue mystery caller (anon 12.03 pm) asking us to be brave whilst he remains incognito reminds me of a colonel who was urging his troops to charge using a loudspeaker, well out of harm's way.

    One wonders - Is (s)he a CCG member protecting privileges and lucrative salary? Petrified of CCG's "corrective" measures? Fearful of a dictatorial senior partner? Other?
    Go on dear colleague, be brave and show us your face.

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  • If ALL GP's opted out the NHS wouldn't have a leg to stand on ... without GO's there is no NHS!

    It needs to be 'opt in', perhaps each time a GP sees a patient he / she could ask them and add the codes needed to do submit the choice.

    It is not about sharing clinical data, it is all the other identifiable information, postcode, date of birth NHS no etc, that makes the patient identifiable.

    Why would anyone need to know what street I lived in to decide on care needed, why do they need my NHS number to decide on care needed in my area, why my date of birth,surely just age would be enough.

    whilst I agree some information could be useful, I tend to feel this is a money making scam on the part of the NHS.

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  • Kosta, I am none of things you attribute to me. I am a psychotherapist who believes in the privacy of the consulting room, and the relationship of trust between GP (and other health care professionals) and patient. One of the central planks of that relationship of trust is confidentiality. The fact that GPs have been put in this invidious position, of having to choose between protecting their patients' confidentiality or risk heavy sanctions, including (as has been expressed above) loss of career, facing legal proceedings etc. should clearly expose the coercion going on here. Other countries have adopted an opt-in system.

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