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Two thirds of Brits willing to let NHS collect personal data for research

Some 66% of the British public would be willing for the NHS to collect their health data in a bid to further research, a survey has found.

The poll of 3,265 British adults, carried out by YouGov on behalf of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), found that just under one fifth of people (19%) would not be willing 'to allow the NHS to use their healthcare data for medical research', with the remainder saying they didn't know.

Over half (58%) of people were also willing to 'provide a blood sample to be part of a national DNA database for medical research', although just over a quarter (26%) said they were not willing to do so.

The survey also questioned people on their willingness to 'register as an organ donor for research purposes', which 57% said they would be willing to do, and 22% said they would be unwilling.

ABPI head of science policy Ali Hansford said: 'This personal commitment to medical advancement from the British population could help us to understand more about human health than ever before and to advance scientific research in complex diseases that we currently struggle to treat or cure.'

The news comes after the Government was forced to scrap its ambitious care.data programme which, among other things, was intended to supply researchers with patient healthcare data.

This was in response to concerns about patients' ability to opt out of having their data shared.

The ABPI survey also asked people which medical breakthrough they would most like to see in the next 70 years, with 49% choosing 'a cure for cancer' and 22% choosing 'a cure for Alzheimer's.

Survey findings in full

  • 58% are willing to provide a blood sample to be part of a national DNA database for medical research, compared to 26% who are not willing (with the rest saying 'don’t know').
  • 57% said they would be willing to register as an organ donor for research purposes, compared to 22% who said they would be unwilling.
  • 66% are willing to allow the NHS to use their healthcare data for medical research, compared to 19% who are unwilling.

Source: Survey of 3,265 British adults, carried out by YouGov on behalf of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI)

Readers' comments (1)

  • Cobblers

    A National DNA database with the aim to collate such data with health care morbidity and outcomes, provided that the sum of knowledge learned improved the population health as a whole?

    Who could argue?

    But it's a question of trust. Do I trust the ABPI, cap in hand to Big Pharma, to police this? That would be a no.

    Good try lads, no cigar though.

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