Giant NHS database rollout delayed

This is one of the hottest topics at the moment amongst patients, their GPs,  NHS England and the government.

In short surgeries throughout the country are being forced to release patients records so that two quite difference databases can be created.  One is for what is known as The Summary Care Record. This record is held by the NHS and  is an electronic record which contains information about the medicines you take, allergies you suffer from and any bad reactions to medicines you have had. Having this information stored in one place makes it easier for healthcare staff to treat you in an emergency, or when your GP practice is closed.  Most people seem to be quite relaxed about this record being supplied to the NHS.

The record which is causing the controversy is called care.data.  The information being extracted to form this record contains the following information:

Your NHS number. Your date of birth. Your postcode. Your gender. Your ethnicity. The date you registered with your GP surgery. Your medical diagnoses (including cancer and mental health) and any complications. Your referrals to specialists. Your prescriptions. Your family history. Your vaccinations and screening tests. Your blood test results. Your body mass index (height/weight). Your smoking/alcohol habits.

This information is not going to the NHS but to a new organisation called the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) and will be used for purposes other than your direct medical care (so-called “secondary uses”).  How well this data will be anonymised, who will have access to it and the fact that a huge portion of the public is unaware of what is taking place is what is causing all the concern.

The matter has reach such a level that NHS England has now decided that there will be a six months delay having accepted that the communications campaign, which gives people
the chance to opt out, needs to be improved.

When the position becomes more clear we will update you on the status regarding opt out options.

So, nothing will  now happen until the autumn.

Click on this link to read a BBC news item dated 18th February on the subject: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-26239532

 

 

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