Friday, September 17

Doctors warn of plans to share patient data with third parties in England | Gps


Doctors have warned that plans to group medical records in a database and share them with third parties could erode the relationship between them and patients.

It came about when the Royal College of GPs wrote to NHS Digital urging it to better communicate with the public about the plans and your options for opting out.

Critics have raised concerns about the NHS Digital plans, which would place the medical records of more than 55 million patients in a database available to academic and commercial third parties for research and planning purposes.

Privacy advocates have already spoken out against the proposals, which include sharing anonymous sexual and mental health data, criminal records and more confidential information. Records would be removed from all patients in England registered with a GP clinic by NHS Digital, which manages the country’s health care computer systems.

The Association of Doctors of the United Kingdom (DAUK), a non-profit lobbying and campaigning organization made up of doctors, said it was concerned that this would “erode the doctor / patient relationship, leaving patients reluctant to share their problems due to the fears of where your data will be. ” be shared. “

Dr Ellen Welch, DAUK GP and Editorial Director, said: “NHS Digital has failed to adequately publicize this to patients or healthcare staff, and we believe more time is needed to explain to patients exactly how they will be used. your data, who will benefit from it and the implications it may have for people. “

Professor Martin Marshall, President of the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) said he supported the principle of better data sharing for important healthcare planning and research, but it was “critical that this is transparent and that patients have trust and confidence in how the NHS and other bodies might use your information ”.

He said that the RCGP and the British Medical Association were committed to planning the new data collection, adding that he would continue to push “NHS Digital to ensure that there are adequate safeguards on how the collected data is used.”

Marshall said: “The job of informing the public should not be left to busy GPs, especially at a time of extreme workload pressures and focusing on the Covid-19 vaccination program, which is why we have written to the NHS Digital urging them to engage in greater communication with the public about this new collection and their options for opting out. ”

Health Secretary Matt Hancock first announced the plan in April through blog posts on the NHS Digital website and brochures on GP surgeries.

However, advocacy group MedConfidential told the Financial Times: ‘They’re trying to sneak out, they’re giving you six weeks nominally and if you don’t act on the web pages on the NHS Digital site and some YouTube videos and some tweets, your entire GP history could have been erased, you never know. will erase “.

The data will be anonymized and provided with “codes” that can be used to reveal the identity of the data owners if there is a “valid legal reason”. Privacy advocates have called the plans “legally problematic” and patients have been given a limited opportunity to opt out. The deadline to opt out is June 23 and patients can fill out a form and give it to their GP.

The digital rights campaign group Foxglove has written to the Department of Health and Welfare. “Very few citizens will know that new prosecution is imminent, directly affecting their personal medical data,” Attorney General Rosa Curling said in the letter.

A spokesperson for the British Medical Association said it was committed to planning the collection and “made statements on behalf of GPs” to “ensure stronger agreements are made on the safety and intended uses of the collected data. , and to minimize administrative burden for the practices ”.

“We will continue to hold NHS Digital accountable,” they said.

The UK data regulator is reportedly producing a data protection impact assessment on the plans.

The Department of Health and Social Assistance has been contacted for comment.


www.theguardian.com

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