15 June 2021
The Government has announced that its planned mass extraction of patient data from GP records will be delayed from July to September 2021.
There will also be a longer window of time for patients to opt out of the extraction than the previously planned 23 June deadline.
General Practice Data for Planning and Research (GPDPR), which will replace the GP Extraction Service (GPES), was due to launch on 1 July. However, the British Medical Association (BMA), which has been advising the Government, called for a delay to the launch of the programme.
The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) has also been advising the Government and has raised concerns about patients being insufficiently informed about the programme.
NHS Digital Interim Chief Executive Officer Simon Bolton said: "We are absolutely determined to take people with us on this mission. We take our responsibility to safeguard the data we hold incredibly seriously.
"We intend to use the next two months to speak with patients, doctors, health charities and others to strengthen the plan even further."
NHS Digital said it was important that patients who would rather opt out of “sharing their data for planning and research purposes” still have the right to do so through the National Data Opt Out, and the delay in the launch date will allow them more time to make this decision.
Health and Care Secretary Matt Hancock has now asked former RCGP Chair and current Academy of Medical Royal Colleges Chair Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard to advise the Government on the successful rollout of the GPDPR project.
Simon Bolton revealed the appointment in a blog published by the HSJ journal, here. He said she has been asked to “advise (Matt Hancock) on how we can ensure this programme rolls out successfully.”
National Statistician Sir Ian Diamond has also been asked to advise on following “best practice in preserving privacy”, drawing on Office for National Statistics experience of making data “available for research in a privacy-preserving way”.
More information about the GPDPR is available from NHS Digital at https://digital.nhs.uk/news-and-events/latest-news/collection-of-gp-data-for-planning-and-research-to-go-ahead-on-1-september-2021