RCGP demands NHS England informs public of care.data scheme

The RCGP has demanded that NHS England does 'everything practically possible' to ensure the public knows of their right to opt out of the care.data scheme before any data is extracted from GP records.

Professor Mathers’ letter says there is a ‘deficit of awareness’ of the care.data scheme

The college has increased its pressure on NHS England to make sure people are fully aware of the care.data programme, with RCGP honorary secretary, Professor Nigel Mathers, writing to NHS England calling for a six-point plan of action.

Earlier this month the college called for a major publicity campaign to ‘properly inform’ the public about the care.data scheme, and warned that the future of the programme could be put at risk if communication with the public was not improved.

Professor Mathers’ letter says there is a ‘deficit of awareness’ of the care.data scheme among the general public and healthcare professionals, and that there is a ‘strong case for substantial additional activity’ to tell people of the scheme’s implications.

He says ‘absolute clarity’ on how the scheme will work is needed if it is not to be delayed. The first data is due to be uploaded to care.data next month.

The RCGP’s six-point plan calls for:

  • Clarification on how pseudonymised but potentially identifiable data is used, and assurances that it won’t be used for commercial purposes.
  • A pledge that data will not be sold for profit.
  • Confirmation of who will decide on the disclosure of identifiable and potentially identifiable data and what controls on its use will be in place.
  • National TV, radio and online advertisements highlighting the fact that people must opt out if they don’t want their data shared.
  • A personalised letter explaining care.data sent to everyone whose records could be uploaded to the system.
  • More work to make sure information on care.data is available to people with physical and learning disabilities.

MP Roger Godsiff (Lab, Birmingham Hall Green) has tabled a parliamentary question, due to be answered later this month, asking the government what level of public awareness of the care.data scheme will be ‘deemed necessary’ before GPs are asked to upload data to the programme.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins


Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

Mobile phone

GPs urge caution over plan for NHS health checks to go digital

GP leaders have warned that changes to the NHS health checks programme must be evidence-based...

Debbie Boughtflower

How career coaching can transform the lives of veterans

GPs across England and Wales can refer patients who used to work in the armed forces...

RCGP chair Professor Kamila Hawthorne

RCGP raises 'major concerns' over practice-level appointments data

The RCGP has written to health and social care secretary Steve Barclay warning that...

Labour shadow health and social care secretary Wes Streeting

GPs condemn 'ignorant' Labour rhetoric over access to appointments

Doctors' leaders have accused the Labour party of 'demonising' GPs after it claimed...


Government NHS pension reform plans 'too little too late', warns BMA

Government plans to boost retention of doctors through reforms to the NHS pension...

Child in bed with a fever

GPs told to have 'low threshold' for prescribing antibiotics in possible strep A cases

GPs have been urged to have a 'low threshold' for prescribing antibiotics and hospital...