NHS Digital delays data collection plans until September

by Jeremy

Citing a need for more time to inform people about the impact of and need for the proposed General Practice Data for Planning and Research (GPDPR) data-sharing program, NHS Digital has announced it will defer the collection of GP data until 1 September 2021. The delay to the controversial and highly criticized program was announced earlier in the Commons by Jo Churchill, minister for public health, primary care, and prevention.

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“Patient data is, of course, owned by the patient, and we are determined to take people with us on this journey,” said Churchill. “We have therefore decided we will proceed with the important program, but we will take some extra time, as we have conversed with stakeholders over the past couple of days. The implementation date will now be on 1 September, and we will use this time to talk to patients, doctors, health charities, and others to strengthen the plan, build a trusted research environment and ensure that data is accessed securely.”

NHS Digital said that it was clear that data saved lives, and that this had been seen first hand in the past few months, as the success of the UK’s Covid-19 vaccine roll-out could not have been achieved without using it to ensure the whole population receives a vaccine, with the elderly and clinically vulnerable prioritized. It said making better use of the data resources held by GPs would ultimately benefit millions, improving care and health standards and helping better understand and treat some of the most severe illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

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