NHS database rollout delayed

Topics covered: Ridouts professional advice

The roll out of the proposed new NHS data sharing scheme has been delayed by six months.  NHS England intended work on the database to start in April but it has now been delayed until the autumn.

Following concerns raised by the Royal College of General Practitioners and the British Medical Association among others, NHS England has accepted that the communications campaign, which informs the public of their right to opt out of the database, needs to be improved.

Ridouts reported yesterday on evidence that the leaflet campaign failed to reach all of the 26.5 million households it was intended to go out to.  It is not yet clear how the communications campaign will be improved.

An NHS England spokesperson said “To ensure that the concerns are met, NHS England will begin collecting data from GP surgeries in the autumn, instead of April, to allow more time to build understanding of the benefits of using the information, what safeguards are in place, and how people can opt out if they choose to.”

Dr Chaand Nagpul of the British Medical Association said “We are pleased that NHS England has listened to the concerns.  With just weeks to go until the uploading of patient data was scheduled to begin, it was clear from GPs on the ground that patients remain inadequately informed about the implications of Care.data.”

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