Information sharing

Reforms within the NHS will impact upon the way that clinical data are collected, shared and analysed. Under the powers of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 (HSCA), the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) can, under certain circumstances, require Personal Confidential Data (PCD) from GP practices without seeking patient consent. One of the first initiatives using these new powers is the care.data service. This service has been commissioned by NHS England and will be delivered by the HSCIC. The HSCIC is England’s central authoritative source of health and social care information. Care.data will make increased use of information from medical records with the intention of improving healthcare, for example by ensuring that timely and accurate data are made available to NHS commissioners and providers so that they can better design integrated services for patients. In the future, approved researchers may also benefit.

The information extracted from GP systems for the care.data service includes personal confidential data such as referrals, all NHS prescriptions and other clinical data. Identifiers (DOB, postcode, NHS number and gender) are required by the HSCIC to link the GP data with PCD from other care settings, e.g. hospitals, in order to analyse patient care across pathways.

Patients have the right to object to any extraction of PCD from the GP practice unless there is (a) a statutory duty to share information, (b) a court order or (c) an overriding public interest in disclosure. In addition to controlling whether PCD flows from the GP practice to the HSCIC, patients have a right to object to PCD from any health and social care setting (e.g. hospital data) leaving the HSCIC. In general, such data will only be made available to accredited third parties in anonymised, pseudonymised or aggregated form. PCD may flow from the HSCIC where there is a legal basis, for example to researchers or commissioners who have section 251 approval, however patients can object to this.

If you do not want your information to be shared as described here you can opt-out by printing the form HERE and returning to the Practice Manager. Please note that the HSCA creates a statutory obligation for GP practices to disclose the data to the HSCIC and so we cannot object on your behalf, the objection must come from you directly.

Further information on the Care.data service is available HERE

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