NHS data share scheme on hold as millions opt out The General Practice Data for Planning and Research scheme was to be launched in September.
THE UK government’s plan to launch the General Practice Data for Planning and Research scheme in September has now been put on hold after huge backlash.
As reported by The Observer, more than a million people opted out of the NHS data-sharing triggered by dissent against government plans to make patient data available to private companies.
The scheme is now on hold and in order to revive it the NHS Digital has extended a series of concessions to campaigners.
What was the scheme about? The GP health data for everyone in England, with identities partially removed, would be made available to researchers and private companies for healthcare research and planning.
Once the proposal was quietly announced in May, doctors’ leaders raised objections to the short six-week deadline for the public to opt out of the scheme. The deadline for the launch was delayed to September, but online campaign encouraged people to opt out.
In May 107,429 people opted out and in June, a further 1,275,153 followed – according to government figures.
“We became aware of this latest GP [data] grab in late March,” Phil Booth, coordinator of medConfidential, one of the groups most critical of the scheme, was quoted as saying.
“We said ‘well that’s just going to blow up’ … and then it did blow up, exactly as we predicted.
“People do care about their GP records and their medical confidentiality. And there is a simple straightforward thing that they can do, which is to tell their GP ‘please don’t let my data be used in this way’.”