TMR zy "How to opt out of GP data copy (UK)", medConfidential.org

If, like me, you would like to opt out of NHS Digital's upcoming (and rather furtive) scrape of GP-held medical records in the UK—which is due to begin on 1st July 2021—here is a useful website that gives information on how to go about it. June 23rd is the deadline for opting out.

According to NHS Digital itself, the plan is to collect patient information along the following lines: "data on your sex, ethnicity and sexual orientation; clinical codes and data about diagnoses, symptoms, observations, test results, medications, allergies, immunisations, referrals and recalls, and appointments, including information about your physical, mental and sexual health; data about staff who have treated you".

Granted, they do say that the information will be "pseudonymised", that it "will only be used for health and care purposes", and that "it is never shared with marketing or insurance companies", which sounds good so far.

But then they add:

"There are a number of organisations who are likely to need access to different elements of patient data from the General Practice Data for Planning and Research collection. These include but may not be limited to: the Department of Health and Social Care and its executive agencies, including Public Health England and other government departments, NHS England and NHS Improvement, primary care networks (PCNs), clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and integrated care organisations (ICOs), local authorities, research organisations including universities, charities, clinical research organisations that run clinical trials and pharmaceutical companies." (Emphases added)

Well, I hope all these (and possibly more) entities really will always use people's medical information only for "health and care purposes" (who defines that?), that they will never abuse it, and that they will keep it nice and safe.

Or... I could opt out now.

(All information as accessed on 28 May 2021)

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