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Independent oversight body for care.data to be scrapped

The Independent Advisory Group (IAG), which has been overseeing the care.data project, is set to be scrapped at the end of June, in what GP campaigners describe as a ‘ludicrous’ decision.

The IAG, which includes members of the public and GP representatives, currently has a dual role of overseeing the collection of data through the GP Extraction Service, and recommending to the Health and Social Care Information Centre where this information should be disseminated.

However, from July this role will be split in two with the Standardisation Committee for Care Information (SCCI) to oversee data collections and extractions and a new group, to be called the Data Dissemination Advisory Group (DDAG), to review what data should be given out by HSCIC to parties requesting information.

HSCIC said the change would see it move ‘towards a more unified and simple structure’ which would be ‘underpinned by the cornerstones of independence, clinical oversight, public scrutiny and transparency’.

However, a GP campaigner for patient data safety said splitting the oversight role into two groups was ‘ludicrous’ and warned that continued independent scrutiny would be vital as the roll out of the Government’s flagship care.data patient record sharing scheme progressed.

Dr Neil Bhatia, a GP in Yateley, Hampshire, said: ‘They are splitting data collection and data dissemination into two groups, which seems a ludicrous situation to me. You need to know where data is going before you extract it.

‘We need independent GPs and other healthcare professionals to scrutinise these plans and rein in HSCIC and NHS England’s megalomaniacal flight of ideas. To date, they have been effective at applying common sense principles of data access, privacy and proportion to the plans.

‘The two groups, Standardisation Committee for Care Information (SCCI) and the Data Dissemination Advisory Group (DDAG), will no doubt be filled by those who cannot be said to be impartial. NHS England and the HSCIC desperately want that - once bitten twice shy.’

A spokesperson for HSCIC said: ‘The IAG has played a vital role in providing expert scrutiny to general practice data extractions and it is important that its acquired knowledge is reflected in the activities of the SCCI and the DDAG.

‘The HSCIC would like to thank the committee for its hard work to date and the valuable role it will continue to play in the coming transitional months.’

The first care.data pilots are due to begin before May but the tentative start - set to focus on more effective patient information rather than live extractions - comes over a year later than the intended launch of the scheme.

Readers' comments (4)

  • Vinci Ho

    We need independent GPs and other health professionals to scrutinise.....

    You see . It is exactly the word 'independent' NHSE and this government want to delete from this requirement so as to exercise despotism . They are fed up with scaremongerers like us.......

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  • hscic should be scrapped. might actually make things better

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  • The lessons learned and an update on the care data program response to the recommendations of the GPES IAG are in the minutes from 12th February (discussion in AOB in the minutes)
    http://www.hscic.gov.uk/article/6028/2015-GPES-IAG-meeting-minutes or
    http://tinyurl.com/mpapjop
    Please remember that care.data is not the only data extraction the IAG has been asked to consider - only the only one GPs have no power (because it is under the powers granted to NHS England under the HSCA) to refuse to allow...

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  • On dear, if that plate of alphabetti spaghetti is 'a more unified and simple structure' that doesn't bode well for the future...

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