The Government has recently enacted a law requiring GPs to send copies of their patient’s records to NHS Digital, where they may be used for research and planning. This will include records going back 10 years and virtually anything new we record about you into the future.
You may be aware through the media about this scheme. This has caused controversy, in particular with regards to the times scale to publicise this change and the lack of national information regarding this.
At a time when GP Practices are extremely busy (currently your practice continues to see about a third higher activity than pre pandemic) the lack of national information has led to a large number of people contacting the surgery in the last week understandably concerned.
As GPs we too have concerns around the implementation of the scheme and would share the points of view expressed in this letter jointly from the British Medical Association and Royal College of GPs to NHS Digital:
This is a complex area and the web page below from NHS Digital does explain things quite well.
The original deadline regarding the need to fill in the attached form and return to us by the 23rd June may now be extended as the start date for these proposals has been moved back from 1 July to 1 September but you should consider your wishes as soon as possible.
Opt out form
We are well aware of the very tight timescales here but we would like to stress again that this is a decision made by NHS Digital and not by your practice. This issue is nothing to do with providing direct care when you need it.
If you do not want your data to be used in this way there are two ways to stop it happening.
Stop data leaving the practice, aka “Type 1 objection”.
To stop your GP records being sent from us to NHS Digital in the first place you can ask us to place a “type 1 objection” in your records. We will do this for you. Please let us know by phone, e-mail or letter. At the moment this must be done before the 23 rd June (but see above extension). You can also use this form HERE. We will of course always share any records necessary for your care, such as a referral to a local hospital.
Stop NHS Digital using your data for planning or research, the “NHS Data Opt Out”.
NHS Digital also collects by default data from other sources, hospitals or clinics etc. This data can be used for planning and research including commercial research outside the NHS. You can learn moreabout how NHS Digital uses your data here: General Practice Data for Planning and Research: GP Practice Privacy Notice - NHS Digital.
You have the choice to stop this happening if you wish but it has to be actioned directly with NHS Digital, we cannot do this for you. To stop data NHS Digital collects on you being used for anything other than direct care go to the NHS Digital web site and search for national opt out. Then scroll to the bottom of the page to read how to action.