Care.data

Care.data is a forthcoming extract of patient data commissioned by NHS England.  The intention of the scheme is to make increased use of the information in medical records in order to improve the quality of care for patients.  The service is one of the first initiatives to use the powers of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 (HSCA), which allows the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), in certain circumstances, to extract confidential data from GP practices without seeking patient consent.

The BMA supports the use of data for appropriate secondary uses but also recognises the importance of confidentiality. The priority in negotiations has been of information governance safeguards and allowing patients to maintain control of the data held in their medical records. The BMA therefore negotiated the right for patients to be able to object to the disclosure of their confidential information from the GP practice.

Practices have received an email from HSCIC including GP guidance and FAQs and patient information materials. We have been advised to undertake patient awareness raising activities, such as displaying the poster, making the leaflet available and providing information on the practice website. These activities will help ensure that patients are aware of the scheme and their right to object.

Practices have been reassured that we will not be solely responsible for making patients aware of Care.data and we will be informed before any extractions take place. NHS England has been working with the Information Commissioner so that there is clarity about what GPs have to do in order to meet the fair processing component of the DPA. It has also been confirmed that data will not be extracted until the awareness raising activities have taken place.

For further information please visit the NHS England website: