GPs piloting the government's controversial care.data patient information sharing scheme have been told they need to send letters to all their patients offering them the chance to opt out of having their data collected before the system is re-started in the Autumn.
The Health Service claims the move will support practices in “meeting their obligations under the Data Protection Act.”
“Using a pathfinder group of GPs we will be testing various communications including a letter to find out what works best for patients and is manageable for GPs. However, at this stage we are not ruling anything in our out,” claimed Dr Geraint Lewis, NHS England chief data officer.
However, the General Practitioners Committee (GPC) has argued that the responsibility for notifying the public should lie with the government, rather than individual organisations having to foot the bill for Whitehall’s agenda.
“It is the government who has changed primary legislation to enable the release of information from patient records, therefore – if they’re the ones who want the data – they’re the ones who should fund the information campaign,” claimed Dr Beth McCarron-Nash, GPC lead on care.data.
The care.data scheme has received much criticism – following reports that the public had not received enough information, the original launch date was delayed for at least six months.
Besides this, others worry about their privacy and security issues, with one survey revealing people had more faith in banks to protect their data than NHS England.