Sharing your health information put back 6 months Print

Did you know your personal health information will be shared via the NHS unless you opt out?  Mmmm not everyone seems aware.  It’s not necessarily something to worry about but if you aren’t aware you haven’t got the option to make the decision.

 

Most doctors seem to think patients are inadequatel informed about the plans for the NHS to share your medical records and think more needs to be done to raise awareness of the care.data scheme.

 

Well today it’s been announced that the scheme has been delayed by 6 months as the awareness is so low and the intended mass leaflet mailing to over 25 million homes has not happened in time.

 

Surveys show that nearly half of the public don’t understand what care.data entails and 80% of GP’s aren’t sure how or waht the data will be used for.

The Royal College of GPs (RCGP) recently warned of a "crisis of public confidence" in the new care.data system.  It supports the plan in principle but was worried that the public had not been informed properly.

The idea of care.data is to link health information from your doctors records with information from hospitals to follow what happens along the way.

This data includes things like family history, conditions, diagnoses, vaccinations, referrals for treatment and prescriptions.

It can also include information such as blood pressure, body mass index and cholesterol levels.

Personal information like date of birth, postcode, NHS number and gender will also be included.

 

The chairman of the BMA’s GP committee, Chaand Nagpaul, said "The BMA is deeply concerned with the Government's public information campaign for care.data. With just weeks to go until the uploading of patient data is scheduled to begin, patients remain inadequately informed about these proposals. As shown in a recent survey only 29 per cent of the public recall receiving a leaflet, while 45 per cent remain unaware of plans to share their data.

"GPs across the country are telling us that large numbers of their patients have not received any information, and therefore remain completely unaware that their data will be will be uploaded, whilst others remain worried about who will have access to it and what it will be used for.

 

"The BMA continues to support the principle of using anonymised data to plan and improve the quality of NHS care for patients. However, this must be done with the support and consent of the public, therefore patients must be made aware of what is happening to their personal information, what the proposals mean and what their rights are if they do not wish their data to be extracted.

 

"The public awareness campaign has clearly not worked and today we call on the Government to ensure public trust in the system by properly informing the public about care.data before the currently planned data extracts commence, and produce evidence this has been achieved prior to uploads taking place.

"As a result we will be having urgent discussions with NHS England about what it can do to address the situation to improve patient awareness, so that patients are able to make a fully informed choice."

The NHS have assured us that insurance companies and other such commercial companies won’t be sold the data but it does mean that private health providers that happen to have an insurance arm could gain access.

There is also the possibility being discussed that pharmaceutical companies could gain access to the data.

 

The opt in or out has been delayed by 6 months so there is time to research and consider your position.

 

If you would like to discuss further speak to your local pharmacist.