NHS Digital plans to implement a new system of collecting patient data from NHS GP surgeries from 1st September, (recently postponed from 1 July).

NHS Digital is the body that has responsibility for standardising, collecting, analysing, publishing, and sharing data and information from across the health and social care system, including general practice.

The process appears to being rushed through with GP surgeries being informed on 12 May to enable the collection process to begin from 1 July.

There are obvious benefits to data sharing in terms of research, development and the identification and sharing of good practice but concerns about security, anonymity and the speed at which the system is being introduced have been expressed by The Royal College of General Practitioners, the British Medical Association and a number of MPs.

If you do not wish your data to be shared, the onus is on you to opt out. You will need to complete a ‘type 1 opt-out form’, available from download or direct from your NHS GP and return it to your registered NHS GP practice no later than 23rd June.  Alternatively, call NHS Digital on 0300 303 5678 between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday and ask for one to be sent to you. (Calls to 0300 numbers cost up to 10p per minute from landlines, and up to 40p per minute from a mobile.)  or email enquiries@nhsdigital.nhs.uk.

If you miss this deadline, you can still opt out, but this only stops new information on your records being added to the database — it won’t erase information already shared.

In addition, if you would like to opt out of having your non-GP data, such as hospital or clinic treatments, being used/sold for purposes other than your direct care, you can opt out via the NHS website.

It is our opinion, that given the poor track record of data security with NHS IT projects, and the rapid pace of roll out during a global pandemic with little or no information being shared with patients, together with significant concerns raised by professional bodies, that we would seriously consider opting out, at least for the foreseeable future.

Your Privacy Assured

We take this opportunity to reassure you that we fully understand the need for absolute discretion and privacy surrounding the medical care we provide. Concierge Medical Practice is registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and adheres to the requirements of the Data Protection Act 2018 and the data protection principles in relation to personal data.

By becoming a member, you agree to the processing of personal data to enable us to carry out work on your behalf. We will not disclose personal data to any third party without your express consent, unless in a medical emergency where it may be deemed in your best interest. In such cases, we stringently adhere to published General Medical Council guidance on the use of personal data.

All clinical records are fully encrypted and stored on secure servers conforming to industry standards. Only medical, management and clerical staff employed by Concierge Medical Practice have access to your records and all adhere to a strict privacy policy.