(Follow link above for further information)
As of 18th February, care.data uploads have been delayed for a further 6 months until September 2014, except for a number of ‘pilot’ practices – locations as yet unknown – which may begin uploading patient data before then.
Sometime in January 2014 you may have received a leaflet via junk mail, entitled ‘Better information means better care‘ (2MB PDF file). Polling indicates that fewer than a third of adults recall seeing one. Even if you did, it may not be clear from the leaflet that a significant change in what is done with your medical records is about to happen.
Unfortunately, NHS England – the arms-length commissioning body that now runs the NHS in England – decided not to include an opt out form with the leaflet and in the information it says you should “speak to your GP practice” if you want to stop your and your family’s confidential medical information being uploaded and passed on.
Please don’t be misled.
You do not have to speak with your doctor, and you certainly don’t need to book an appointment. The choice to keep your medical records private is completely down to you; all you need do is inform your GP of your choice, which you can do simply by writing a letter or dropping a form into your surgery.
To make things more straightforward, medConfidential is providing both a form and a letter for you to use. You can use either one of them. Click on one of the links below to download a copy. Print it off, fill in your details and the details of your minor children (i.e. children below the age of consent – older children must opt out for themselves) and/or anyone for whom you hold lasting power of attorney, sign it and send it to your GP or drop it into the surgery reception for their attention:
Please do take a few moments to e-mail this PDF to your family, friends and colleagues, or send them the link to our download page – www.medconfidential.org/how-to-opt-out – or share it on social media. You might even print off copies of the form (it conveniently prints double-sided and folds to fit in a DL envelope) to give to others who may not have heard about what’s going to happen to their medical records, and won’t know what they can do.
Opting out will not affect the care you receive in any way – and you can always opt back in at any point, if you like. If you do have any specific health-related concerns, we recommend you speak with your GP.
As you will see from our letter, there are TWO codes that your doctor will need to add to your record: one that will prevent your information being uploaded from your GP practice and one to stop the Health and Social Care Information Centre from passing on identifiable information about you that it gathers from anywhere else, e.g. hospital records, clinics or testing laboratories.
Remember, the choice is yours. You don’t need to justify it, but if you want to keep your medical records private and confidential you need to act now.
The fact that there has been another delay to the uploads (the first delay was from last September until March 2014) does not change anything about the scheme itself. That NHS England thinks all it has is a communications problem suggests it is unlikely to make any meaningful change to the scheme over the next 6 months.