NHS England will launch its flagship patient record-sharing scheme, care.data, with trials at between 100 and 500 GP practices, according to a stakeholder briefing.
In a letter sent out last week, NHS England patients and information director Tim Kelsey said these pilots would allow them to ‘trial, test, evaluate and refine the collection process’ before it goes national.
He said the decision was informed by discussions held between stakeholders and the independent advisory group on care.data – the group set up since NHS England was forced to postpone the launch for six months. Prior to the delay, NHS England had planned to begin a phased rollout of care.data in March in 1% of GP practices.
It comes after health secretary Jeremy Hunt said last month that new legislation would be brought in to improve protection of patient data.
Mr Kelsey’s letter said: ‘We have heard common themes emerging over the last number of weeks and as a result, we have been discussing with the BMA, Healthwatch, RCGP and the independent advisory group, a proposal for a phased roll out of the GP data extraction process to begin in the autumn. This will involve a cohort of between 100 and 500 GP practices to trial, test, evaluate and refine the collection process ahead of a national roll out.
‘In addition, steps have already been taken in making changes to the law. This will increase the protection of confidentiality and ensure there is greater transparency around the release of data by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).’
A spokesperson for NHS England said: ‘We are in discussions and will provide more information in due course.’