Danger: Do you care about who has your medical information? If so, act now.
The vacuuming up of this data is to start very shortly; no-one seems to know precisely when; early spring is the date being put about by government.
As of the 7th February 2014 some aspects of this operation had not been decided, in part because the two people in the NHS who have the information were on holiday.
One key worrying aspect of this is that information will be sucked up automatically from GP records unless a patient opts out. In other words, if you do nothing your data will be swept into the HSCIC database and will continue to be swept up at frequent intervals unless and until you refuse to allow it to continue. That which they already have will not be able to be deleted. Up to early this month it was understood that if you opt out none of your information would be retrieved by HSCIC. That however appears now not to be the case. Your clinical information will be sucked up but not any identifying matter.
If this concerns you then it is important that you act now and notify your GP that you do not want any data to be disclosed. The leaflet which you have received merely tells you to contact your GP if there is anything you don’t understand. However, effectively, all your GP can do is to tell you that you can opt out.
I have found an absolutely superb article on this malarkey and it can be found by following this link and from there you can click through to another website which has devised a form and/or a letter which can be filled in, printed off and sent to your GP. Follow this link to get to medconfidential the second website and the opt out forms.
I have opted out from the data.care program. I have used the Word opt-out letter found on the medconfidential website. I have addressed it to “The Practice Manager and doctors at (name and address of surgery)” and used the greeting “Dear Doctors”. My wife has completed her own form. If you have children or if you have responsibility for the medical affairs of someone else then you can add in the details of the children or other people to your form. However, that can only be done if the children or other person is at the same surgery as yourself. If not, then you will need to complete a separate form.
For completion of the form you will need the full name and address, date of birth, gender of the person concerned and their NHS number. This is NOT the person’s National Insurance Number. The NHS number may well be found on a prescription form, or in a letter confirming your joining a surgery or on a hospital letter etc. It is likely to be in 3 sections: 3 digits, then another three digits and then four digits. If you cannot find it then call in at the surgery to try to get the number if they will give it to you. Do not let not having the number deter you from completing and submitting the form.
Keep a copy of the completed form. If you are able to keep a copy by photocopying or scanning the original then do so.