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Did you know that the NHS is asking your GP to transfer your medical records to a centralised NHS database to help with research and planning?

Now, I’m a dedicated news junkie, but the first I heard about this was in Thursday’s Guardian.

The NHS claim to have written to patients, but a third of people in a recent survey showed that a third hadn’t received a letter; I certainly haven’t received one, although this may of course simply been down to the absence of a functional postal system.

Although I’m generally in favour of research and planning and am a big fan of Big Data, there are a number of reasons for opposing this move:

  • The lack of publicity and communication – is this simple incompetence or do they have something to hide?
  • It’s a large government IT project
  • It’s run by NHS Digital – see my previous comment re incompetence
  • The data doesn’t include things like your name and address, but it does include things like your sex, ethnicity and postcode (although not, curiously, your age). I share a postcode with 13 other addresses

Your GP data will be collected by NHS Digital on 1st July 2021; you have until 23rd June 2021 to opt out. You can opt out of data sharing at any time.

  • There are two types of opt-outs. Type 1 stops NHS Digital collecting your data from your GP. Type 2 stops them from sharing your data with third parties.
  • The Opt-Out website says that “NHS Digital will never sell your data”
  • It doesn’t say “NHS Digital will never lose your data” or “NHS Digital will never give your data away”
  • If you read further you find that “NHS Digital won’t share any confidential patient information about you – this includes GP data, or other data we hold, such as hospital data – with other organisations, unless there is an exemption to this”

So, as they say on Dragon’s Den, I’m out

For more information, see:

https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/data-collections-and-data-sets/data-collections/general-practice-data-for-planning-and-research#what-data-is-shared