For some time now patients have been able to protect their records, and prevent them being uploaded to the NHS centralised database where they would be available for “secondary use” (i.e. for purposes beyond their direct care). This is known as patients’ opt out.
Although the opt outs have been recorded at the Surgery, they have never been communicated to the NHS and therefore patients’ wishes have not been respected as far as Hospital Records are concerned. This anomaly is about to be fixed as patient opt outs are to be uploaded during December.
There are four groups of people who need to consider this carefully during November:
- Do you want to request an opt out? You may have delayed exercising your opt out originally as there wasn’t a specific deadline – well now there is so you really need to make your decision in November.
- Have you moved surgeries and are unsure of your position? Your records should have moved with you; but it’s worth checking that your wishes are correctly recorded on the Maltings’ system
- Did you opt out originally and want to change your mind? If that is the case, you do need to tell the Surgery during November
- Have you already opted out and want to check it still applies? Most people who opted out did so over fears about care.data in 2014 – it’s highly probable that the opt out was applied correctly, but processes some 18 months ago weren’t as robust as they are today and it’s probably worth having the surgery check.
The PPG’s position on Patient Records is that we support sharing as long as it is open, consensual and safe. In our view, this planned upload is open and consensual; further, it is safer than the current system with respect to Hospital Records.
The Surgery will be getting in touch, and, if the PPG can help you in any way, do contact the surgery or use my e-mail address below. Go well
Alan Bellinger – Chair, Maltings PPG
5th Nov 2015