NHS England’s new data programme care.data aims to extract and analyse patient information in order to improve services and get a better understanding of what is happening across the health and social care sectors.
In essence, confidential data about patients will be extracted from GP information systems, as directed through the Health and Social Care Act 2012, and stored safely and securely at the Health and Social Care Information Centre, and used to support a range of essential secondary uses such as commissioning, quality improvement, clinical audit, research and service planning, in largely de-identified form.
The extraction begins from March 2014. In advance of the extraction, a leaflet to all households in London will be sent out between Jan 27th-31st 2014. This leaflet informs patients how the data will be used, the benefits for them and for the NHS. It also explains their rights to choose not to have confidential data about themselves sent to the new programme, if this is what they want. The BMA and patient representatives have been involved in the wording of both leaflets.
Although most patients will be adequately informed by the leaflet, and other information available on the NHS England website http://www.england.nhs.uk/ourwork/tsd/care-data/ NHS England has commissioned a helpline so that patients and the public will be able to access help and advice. The number to call is 0300 456 3531 and the line opens on January 6th 2014 and runs until March 31st 2014.
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