Patient data to be obtained from GPs
The NHS in England will start collecting anonymous data on patients’ health from GPs for the first time1.
Information is already collected from hospitals but, by extending the initiative to include general practices, the aim is to gain a larger insight into disease and treatment patterns.
Leaflets about the changes, and how people can opt out if they wish to, will be sent to 26.5 million households across England from next week onwards.
Patients that have any further questions about how their details will be used, or those whom wish to opt out, can speak to their GP or call the information line on 0300 456 3531.
Dr Tony Calland, chairman of the British Medical Association’s (BMA) medical ethics committee, praised the leaflet campaign. 'The BMA is extremely pleased that NHS England is raising awareness about changes to the way patient data is handled in the NHS', he noted.
'It is vital that people are fully informed about what their data will be used for and how they can object to its use if they wish to'.
Patients wishing to top up their NHS services or switch to private healthcare may choose to take out medical cover. With medical cover, the cost of quality treatment could be significantly cheaper than choosing to ‘go private’ once you’ve already fallen ill.
*www.bbc.co.uk ‘Make ‘Patient data to be collected from GPs’, 6th January 2013 <http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-25588544>