DoH rejects call to halt 'secondary use' of patient data

NHS patients will not be able to prevent their electronic health records being used for research without their consent, the DoH has said.

A report by the House of Commons health select committee this year said patient data should not be handed to the DoH’s Secondary Uses Service – which collects data for research and to inform NHS management – ‘under any circumstances’ to protect patient confidentiality.

But in a response published yesterday, the DoH said there was ‘strong evidence on the need for health information to be made available for research’. It said all data should be effectively anonymised.

The DoH response also agreed to an independent review of the HealthSpace website, which allows patients to access and update their own health records, once it is widely available.

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