How to opt out of NHS Digital data sharing

You now have more time to opt out before your health records are shared in the NHS’s new database.

Plans to launch a new NHS system which will collect patient’s health information from GP surgeries has been delayed.

The deadline for patients across England to opt-out has been extended. Officials say that the public needs more time to get used to the idea.

The GP Data for Planning and Research system was due to begin transferring the medical records of 55 million British patients to a central database – which would be available to academics and select commercial partners – on 1st July, but the start date has been pushed back to 1st September. The medical records would be pseudonymised.

There was less than two weeks left before you could opt out, but now the deadline for opting out has been pushed back to 1st September to coincide with the new launch date.

Announcing the delay in the House of Commons, health minister Jo Churchill told MPs the new system ‘saves lives’, and that the government is ‘absolutely determined to take people with us on this journey’.

Countering, Labour’s shadow health minister Alex Norris criticised the government for a lack of “public engagement” and said the plans had been “snuck out under the cover of darkness”.

But NHS Digital says the venture is needed to update the current 10-year-old system, which “has been used to help better understand and develop cures for serious illnesses, such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer”.

You can find out more about and register a National Data Opt-out or change your choice on or by calling 0300 3035678.

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