The NHS have recently proposed changes to GP data collection, which will allow them to store people’s GP patient records ‘anonymously’ on a central database. NHS organisations will have access to versions of this database and the information can be made available to others working in the health sector to assist with research or service planning.
Serious concerns have been raised that private sector organisations will be granted access the information gathered. There is also the fear that organisations could reverse the anonymisation, creating very serious data protection implications.
People originally had until just 1 July to tell their GP Practice they would like to opt out of this data collection. Following considerable backlash, the Department of Health delayed this deadline to 1 September.
“This data collection proposal is simply outrageous. The Government have acted disgracefully, attempting to push this change through without any publicity, consultation and very little time for the public to react.
“I have contacted my GP to opt out, and I would recommend others do the same until such time as there is proper consultation with the public and there are guaranteed safeguards ensuring people’s confidential information is being securely anonymised.
“I would ask all West Lancashire GP practices to consider whether they should opt all their patients out until the proper safeguards are in place as some GP practices throughout the country have already done!
“It is unbelievable that the Government and NHS are happy to open up patient data to the prying eyes of private providers, exposing all patients to a serious risk of data breach. This data should be handled safely, securely used for research in the right way, not to give private companies access to all our ‘anonymised’ personal medical history in exchange for cash!”
If you want to opt out from this new system, you can download the form from the following webpage and send it to your GP before 1 September: https://medconfidential.org/how-to-opt-out/