Tuesday 8 June 2021 7:22 AM UTC
By A Staff Reporter
LONDON June 8: The General Practice Data for Planning and Research, an NHS system set to extract patient data from doctors’ surgeries will come into force in England from 1 July.
The plan is to compile information about physical, mental and sexual health from GP surgeries into a central database, including diagnoses, symptoms, test results, medications, allergies, immunisations and referrals, as well as data on sex, ethnicity and sexual orientation, and on who has treated patients.
It will exclude any identifying details such as names, addresses, images or details of conversations. Postcodes will be included, but in a coded form.
Research bodies and organisations can request access to the information stored if you do not opt out, including: university researchers, hospital researchers, medical royal colleges pharmaceutical companies researching new treatments. However, your information will not be used for marketing or insurance purposes unless you specifically request this.
According to NHS Digital, the data will be used for a “wide variety of research and analysis to help run and improve health and care services”.
Patients have until June 23 to opt out of having their health data transferred to the central facility. You can still opt out beyond this point. Your data will stop being shared with the centralised database as soon as you register to opt-out of the sharing scheme, whether it’s before or after the opt out deadline.
However, the central database will continue to hold all the patient data that was collected before you registered to opt out. After that, without an opt out, the Government assumes the patient’s consent, and the information becomes a permanent and irreversible part of the new data set and patients lose their right to decide.
More information on how to opt out and where to find a form to send to GP practices can be found HERE.
Alternatively, search online and print off a ‘type 1 opt-out form’ — or ask your GP for one. Return the completed form to your GP practice.
The other options is to call NHS Digital on 0300 303 5678 between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday and ask for one to be sent to you. (Calls to 0300 numbers cost up to 10p per minute from landlines, and up to 40p per minute from a mobile.)
Return the form to your GP practice on or before June 23 to allow time for it to be processed before NHS Digital starts collecting the data on July 1.
If you miss this deadline, you can still opt out, but this only stops new information on your records being added to the database — it won’t erase information already there.
To opt out of having your hospital data shared, visit
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