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Labour asks NHS andMatt Hancock to pause plans for sharing patient data

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Labour has urged the NHS and Matt Hancock to pause their plan to share medical records from GPs to allow time for greater consultation on how the idea would work, saying that maintaining patients’ trust must be paramount.

In a letter to the head of NHS Digital and the health secretary, the shadow public health minister, Alex Norris, said Labour backed the principle of improved data collaboration but shared the concerns of some doctors’ groups.

The Royal College of General Practitioners warned NHS Digital a week ago that plans to pool medical pseudonymised records on to a database and share them with academic and commercial third parties risked affecting the doctor-patient relationship.

NHS Digital needed to explain the plans better to the public, the group said, as well as outlining how people could opt out.

The British Medical Association (BMA) has also called for a pause to the General Practice Data for Planning and Research scheme. Another group, the Doctors’ Association, said it was worried it would “erode the doctor/patient relationship, leaving patients reluctant to share their problems due to fears of where their data will be shared”.

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Source: The Guardian, 6 June 2021

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