18 February 2014
The start of a new NHS data-sharing scheme in England involving medical records is being delayed by six months.
Dr Martyn Thomas from the IET said: “In delaying this massive IT project we hope that the Government has learnt from past mistakes.
“A big issue with this project has been flaws in the communications campaign. There appears to be a big question mark over whether the information contained in a leaflet aimed at the general public enabled people to make an ‘informed decision’. And, of greater concern, is the fact that many patients claimed not to have received this information.
“The Health and Social Care Information Centre website gives more detailed information about what patient data will be made available, what assurances the NHS will seek before it is released, and how much they will charge for the data. But even from this, it is unlikely that patients have been able to make a truly informed decision about whether or not to opt out.
“Much was been made of the fact that the data will be anonymised but it remained very unclear how this would work in practice.
“One way to address these concerns would be to carry out a managed trial, before rolling out the plans across the entire NHS.”