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Giant NHS database plans on hold
The controversial NHS data-sharing scheme in England has been delayed for six months as it tackles opposition from patients and doctors.
The central database will involve taking records from GP practices and linking them with hospital records to form a master database. Although the information made available on the database will be stripped of all identifiable data, it will still show the gender, age band and the area that a patient lives in.
Ally Taft (http://www.themag.org/
“If the database is used to identify problem areas of clinical practice and reduce the numbers of injuries to patients then it may well be a positive thing, but the public need to understand how the information is to be used so that they can make an informed decision whether or not to opt out.”
NHS England has accepted the communications campaign needs to be improved, which allows people the chance to opt-out. Widespread criticism of the communication campaign has been received with some of the public claiming to have not received the leaflets in the post explaining the plans. A BBC poll of 860 people found less than a third could recall getting the leaflets at all, and a staggering 45 per cent remain unaware of plans to share their data.
Concerns with access to the new database have also been elevated, as members of the public feel the database is at risk of hackers, or insurance companies using the data to increase premiums on healthcare and life cover. Officials say the information will be used to study trends and identify areas of poor care.
The rollout plan has been put on hold until October while the NHS runs an awareness campaign and tightens up checks on firms wanting access to the data. Although it hasn’t been decided how the communications campaign should be run, there have been talks of a high profile TV and radio advertising campaign.
Some members of the public appeared angry about the lack of education surrounding the matter and consider the plan a waste of money. The online campaign group, 38 Degrees, polled 150,000 people, of whom more than 90% said they would opt out. Another survey showed 80 per cent of GP’s are unclear about how the data will be used.
The NHS have established an information line - 0300 456 3531 - for patients to call if they have any questions or concerns. Information is also available on the NHS choices website.
Have you ever been mistreated due to faults in patient records?
The Medical Accident Group is a team of specialist clinical negligence solicitors, with experience in dealing with GP mistakes and patient rights. If you believe you have a claim, call 0800 050 1668 or complete the online form. You can also email Ally Taft directly by visiting her online profile at www.themag.org
Medical Accident Group