Intended for healthcare professionals


GP data scheme may face further delay as practices refuse to hand over patient information

BMJ 2021; 374 doi: (Published 14 July 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;374:n1777
  1. Stephen Armstrong
  1. London

A group of GPs have told the government they will refuse to hand over patients’ data to NHS Digital under the agency’s data extraction programme unless the Department of Health and Social Care for England commits to a list of demands, amid ongoing concerns about patient consent and confidentiality.

The BMJ has learnt that NHS Digital has quietly withdrawn the data provision notice for its GP data extraction scheme and will reissue it at a later date. Privacy campaigners believe that the extraction, which had already been deferred once after a legal challenge, could be further delayed beyond the 1 September deadline that had been set.

An open letter to the government coordinated by GPs in the east London borough of Tower Hamlets said there had been a lack of informed consent about the proposals.1 It urged NHS Digital to write to every patient telling them what is to be done with their data and to enshrine their right in legislation to opt out.

The letter has been signed by Tower Hamlets Local Medical Committee, Solihull LMC, and Gateshead and South Tyneside LMC, which represent a total of 113 general practices, and also the North East London Clinical Commissioning Group and North Central London CCG. GPs who coordinated the letter said …

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