NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens has told MPs that an “artificial start date” for the scheme should not be “set in stone.”
The initial date change was caused by various critics and protestors worried about their data being shared with private companies and a lack of public education about the project.
Now, Stevens has said care.data will not be held down to a specific timescale and it shouldn’t be expected that the rollout will occur immediately after the six month period is up.
“Clearly this is an important moment to listen much more carefully to what a range of people have got to say about how this programme should develop,” he claimed, speaking at his first hearing with the Parliamentary health committee.
In spite of this, Tim Kelsey, the NHS England director for patients an information, has claimed pilots for the programme are due to start in Autumn, with around 500 GP practices trialling it before a national rollout.
Kelsey said the pilot process was intended to “refine the collection process.”
The care.data programme is intended to link primary care data from GP practices to the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) and clinical care groups (CCGs).
But, many fear their data will be sold to companies who do not have their best interests at heart, particularly since it was revealed that the Data Protection Act doesn’t cover anonymous data.