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Important – Data opt-out

NHS Digital intend to make available for sharing on a central database ALL patient records, for any patients who have not opted out by 23rd June 2021. These records will be made available to pharmaceutical firms, charities and anyone who NHS Digital grants permission to. Your records will be anonymised, but there exists a capability to ‘de-anonymise’ these records should it be deemed necessary by NHS Digital. As of today (7th June 2021), we have roughly 3750 patients. We have received a very small amount of opt-out forms. We suspect that most of you are unaware of this project. We know that some of you will currently be in hospital, some out of the country and that many of our patients lack access to IT, cannot read English well, or at all. Ideally, we’d like to discuss this with each of you to make you aware individually, but this is not possible in the limited time we have, particularly as we are providing care to many AND delivering the covid vaccination programme. Honestly, we’re not sure how compatible handing over your data without your explicit consent is with our duties under GDPR.

We therefore intend to opt out all patients of this surgery from data-sharing with NHS Digital until concerns about this have been resolved; if you opt out but opt in later, that is absolutely your right. However, if you are opted in and then opt out later, NHS Digital keep on their database all information given initially – it is not deleted.

Please note that this is NOT about sharing data with out-of-hours GP services, or QE Hospital – this has happened for years, for the purpose of the direct care of YOU, and will continue unless you object to this separately or have done so already. We have no problem with this and see it as being helpful to ensure better, safer care. However, we cannot in good conscience irreversibly hand over your data, for no direct benefit to you, on the basis you haven’t objected to something many of you are likely unaware of.

If interested, please read the link here:https://www.theguardian.com/society/2021/jun/01/gps-urged-to-refuse-to-hand-over-patient-details-to-nhs-digital