I’m starting to feel like I’m in a minority of one. But, to be brutally honest, I really don’t get this huge kerfuffle over care.data. I understand the concerns and I appreciate the issues, of course. But it barely registers on my agitometer – maybe because I just don’t regard myself as some precious, angelic winged guardian of patient records, which, in turn, could be because most of my patients have never appeared to give a monkeys.
After all, if confidentiality was something that keeps them up at night then they wouldn’t accost me when I’m in the checkout queue with my cheese sandwich to point out, with ill-disguised dissatisfaction, that their discharge is much the same. But they do, so it isn’t.
Having said that, those helpful leaflets which say, to paraphrase, ‘Look, if you don’t like it, just sod off and see your GP’ seem to be having an effect, although that’s the only message of any accuracy that seems to be getting through. Because the care.data conversations I’ve had with anxious punters have centred on the misconception that dissent would disadvantage them in some way. In other words, that opting out of care data might mean opting out of care. Blimey. Incredible that patients could seriously entertain such an idea: fail to toe the DoH line and you forfeit the right to NHS treatment. Quite sad, when you come to think of it. Or, if you’re the government, quite interesting.
Dr Tony Copperfield is a GP in Essex. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @DocCopperfield.