NHS Digital have moved to the next stages for the General Practice Data for Planning and Research (GPDPR) rollout.
A GP research programme is recruiting additional members to ‘gather information from the public on how they would like their data from their local GP used’ as part of the communications area of work.
Other areas are data management, access and governance, where the NHS Digital team is working on the Trusted Research Environment, a secure analytics platform.
Opt-outs are the final key area of work, as NHS Digital says the programme ‘must meet the commitment to reduce the burden of ‘Type 1’ opt-outs on GPs and practice staff’, and said it is ‘engaging with the profession’ on how to do this.
NHS Digital also shared the results from a recent survey of GP practice staff on GPDPR in partnership with the BMA and RCGP.
Between May and June, 368 people working in general practice, including 86 GPs, were asked about GPDPR, burden reduction and health data use more widely.
The survey found ‘broad support’ for the programme, with 49% of respondents who agreed or strongly agreed with the aims of the programme and only 19% who disagreed or strongly disagreed.
The highest areas of burden identified were approving data extract requests and reactively responding to patient enquiries, and respondents say they would like NHS Digital to look at ways of reducing that burden.
There was also an appetite for more easily digestible and clearer information about data and data sharing for both staff and patients.
The survey also found:
- The majority of respondents (66%) are confident in explaining opt outs and why patients sharing their data is important for research and planning, but confidence drops when discussing more technical topics linked to data use and data sharing.
- A third of those surveyed don’t know what a type 1 data opt out is, with 56% of GPs saying that they do not know what a type 1 opt out is.
- 82% of respondents did not feel they had enough information about GPDPR, and 26% of GPs did not know about GPDPR..
- When asked who should have a say in deciding how data for direct care is used, 85% believe GP practices should, compared to 51% that think national NHS organisations should.
For its next steps, NHS Digital said it would ‘work with GP staff to co-create the materials they need to fill the knowledge gap’ and to ’openly identify and discuss concerns and benefits’ of the programme.
Eva Simmonds, programme head for GP data at NHS Digital, said: ‘We are committed to being open and transparent about access to data in GP systems and we are engaging with GPs, patients and the public to shape our approach.
‘GPs and practice staff are crucial stakeholders and we have been working closely with the BMA and RCGP to gather the views of GPs and practice staff, most recently through a survey which was open to all surgeries in England.’
She added: ‘We are hugely grateful to all those that responded to our survey, which has provided useful insight around how we can reduce the burden, raise awareness of our work and support GPs to communicate with their patients about data and their choices.’
In May last year, NHS Digital launched the GPDPR programme, which it described as a ‘new and improved’ GP data collection system.
Campaigners warned the planned mass extraction of patient data from GP records would potentially make sensitive patient data available to private firms and the scheme was delayed.