The NHS have delayed for at least six months, controversial plans to share data from people’s medical records on Tuesday following concerns from doctors and patients’ groups, acknowledging there was insufficient public confidence in the scheme. The extracted information will contain a person’s NHS number, date of birth, postcode, ethnicity and gender. Once live, organisations such as university research departments – but also insurers and drug companies – will be able to apply to the new Health and Social Care Information Centre to gain access to the database.
In a statement, NHS England said the collection of data from GPs’ surgeries would now begin in the autumn – it did not give a more precise date – to permit “more time to build understanding of the benefits of using the information, what safeguards are in place, and how people can opt out if they choose to”.
This climbdown is proof that people power can make a difference in the fight against NHS privatisation. It comes after a wave of pressure from 38 Degrees members, along with organisations like SumOfUs and medConfidential.