Feeds

Ill communication delays NHS England's GP data grab for six months

Poorly publicised medical records plan kicked into autumn

Mobile application security vulnerability report

Despite little political appetite to attack the government's plans to share GP medical records - and with data already held by NHS England - the scheme has been delayed, after doctors expressed concerns about a lack of public awareness.

Tim Kelsey, NHS England's national director for patients and information, insisted this morning that the decision to wait until the autumn before proceeding with the so-called care.data extraction programme did not mean that it had been mothballed.

"There's no question the scheme is going to happen in the autumn," he said, speaking on the BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"We are not abandoning anything. this is about extending the public awareness campaign. It's definitely happening."

Kelsey said the data grab was "too important" to scrap and added that it was "fundamental" to the future of England's health service.

In a statement, the NHS exec said he had agreed, following uproar about a lack of publicity around the scheme, that patients needed "more time to learn about the benefits of sharing information and their right to object to their information being shared."

However, it remains unclear about how Kelsey's team will now proceed with its much-criticised campaign.

The government paid £1m to carelessly tuck leaflets about the GP medical records' data grab in with junk mail that was posted to 26.5 million households across England in January.

But many patients have said they never received the flyers, while some of those who did said they found the information inadequate and were disappointed not to find an opt out form to fill in and simply hand into their GP practice.

Kelsey failed this morning to explain how his campaign might be improved, however.

He declined, for example, to commit to any promise that subsequent mailouts - if they actually happen - would be individually addressed to patients.

The government, of course, would have to stump up more cash to fund any such campaign.

MedConfidential's Phil Booth, who has battled tirelessly with NHS England to get it to be much more upfront with patients about its data grab plans, said:

Finally, officials at NHS England have seen reason. To upload millions of patients’ confidential data without providing full and proper information or seeking consent would have been the largest breach of confidence in NHS history.

It still could be, if NHS England does not now write to each patient in England individually by name, explaining the risks it has acknowledged as well as the claimed benefits. And this time they’d better not forget to include an opt out form.

This delay will mean nothing if the care.data programme is not overhauled to provide patients with a clear and constantly updated picture of exactly who will have access to their data, why and what for. The entire scheme could do with a radical dose of transparency.

Professor Nigel Mathers, who is the honorary secretary of the Royal College of General Practitioners said he welcomed the "pause".

The extra time will provide it with the chance to redouble its efforts to inform every patient of their right to opt out, every GP of how the programme will work, and the nation of what robust safeguards will be in place to protect the security of people’s data.

®

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
Adam Afriyie MP: Smart meters are NOT so smart
Mega-costly gas 'n' 'leccy totting-up tech not worth it - Tory MP
'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter
You'd better not be talking about the council's housing plans
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
ONE EMAIL costs mining company $300 MEEELION
Environmental activist walks free after hoax sent share price over a cliff
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.