Up to 500 GP practices to pilot care.data from autumn

Up to 500 GP practices will take part in a trial of data extraction under the delayed care.data programme from this autumn, NHS England has revealed.

The move is part of a phased roll-out of care.data after concerns from doctors and patients forced NHS officials to suspend its start date by six months.

The scheme has been dogged by concerns over whether patients were fully aware of its implications and their right to opt out, and over data confidentiality.

In a letter to NHS organisations, NHS England director for patients and information Tim Kelsey said 100 to 500 GP practices would ‘trial, test, evaluate and refine the collection process’ from autumn ahead of a national roll-out.

Linking GP and hospital data

His letter said steps had begun to change the law to ‘increase the protection of confidentiality and ensure there is greater transparency around the release of data’.

Early stages of the scheme will involve efforts to link GP and hospital level data.

Mr Kelsey wrote: ‘We need to do more to ensure that patients and the public have a clear understanding of the care.data programme and will continue this over the coming weeks and months.’

He added that key areas NHS England had been asked for more detail on by organisations including the BMA and RCGP included ‘patients’ right to object to their identifiable data being shared; protecting privacy; the burden on GPsand the controls around data’.

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