New GP data-sharing system delayed – Healthwatch response

June 9, 2021

Healthwatch England have joined forces with leading patient groups to respond to the Government’s plans around GP data sharing.

NHS Digital have recently announced plans to allow an NHS system to extract patient data from doctors’ surgeries in England. The new data-sharing system was due to start in July but has now been pushed back to 1 September.

Responding to the announcement today by Jo Churchill, Minister for Primary Care, on the Government’s plans around GP data, we have released the following statement with other patient groups – National Voices, the Patients Association and the Richmond Group of Charities.

“We welcome today’s move by the Government to extend the deadline for the GP data opt-out and allow NHS Digital and colleagues across the NHS, particularly those in primary care, to have the time and space to engage properly with patients and the wider public on these plans.

“In previous engagement work the public have told us that they are in favour of the NHS using their data for medical research if they understand how this information will be used and can opt out if they so wish. However, ongoing public support for this depends on complete transparency and clear communication from the NHS when things change.

“Over the next few months we need to see a proper nationwide campaign on this, reaching out to people so they can make an informed choice about how their own individual medical records are used to support research. This is a complex issue, and so we will all be working with the NHS to help build awareness and understanding.”