NHS data-sharing project scrapped – another opportunity missed..

Smitha Mundasad reports for BBC news that the “NHS data-sharing project scrapped”…. 7th July 2015. No surprise there then, continuing the story of failures in IT. The Litigation risk is only part of the issue.. Government does not have the confidence of the professionals working for it, and they no longer believe it is built on a philosophical or ideological rock.

The Department of Health in England is scrapping its controversial data-sharing project – known as Care.data.

The programme, which was due to launch in 2014, faced widespread criticism – including fears the public had been left in the dark about it.

The announcement comes as Dame Fiona Caldicott and the Care Quality Commission published two reviews on data security in English healthcare.

Their reports put forward a series of proposals to safeguard data in the NHS.

‘Criminal sanctions’

They call for stronger government sanctions for malicious or intentional data breaches, together with tougher criminal sanctions against those who use any anonymised data to re-identify individuals.

Meanwhile, out-of-date computer software and hardware should be replaced urgently, they say.

The reviews recommend an opt-out system so patients can say no to confidential or personal health data being used for anything beyond their direct care.

But this could be overridden for mandatory requirements such as fraud investigations or situations of public interest such as epidemics, they suggest.

And patients could give explicit consent for specific research studies, even if they had opted-out.

Responding in a written statement to Parliament, the Department of Health said it has launched a public consultation on the option of opt-outs, alongside 10 security standards that Dame Fiona suggests NHS organisations must meet.

Officials also say they support stronger criminal sanctions for misuse of anonymised data and are working with suppliers to ensure IT systems are up-to-date.

Meanwhile, the Department of Health said though it had taken the decision to close the Care.data programme it was “committed to realising the benefits of sharing information”.

The Care.data project, led NHS England, together with the Health and Social Care Information Centre, was designed to bring health and social care information from different settings together to see what was working well and what could be done better.

It was due to launch two years ago, but was paused after concerns a public information campaign explaining its use was not clear enough and did not reach everyone.

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This entry was posted in A Personal View, Stories in the Media on by .

About Roger Burns - retired GP

I am a retired GP and medical educator. I have supported patient participation throughout my career, and my practice, St Thomas; Surgery, has had a longstanding and active Patient Participation Group (PPG). I support the idea of Community Health Councils, although I feel they should be funded at arms length from government. I have taught GP trainees for 30 years, and been a Programme Director for GP training in Pembrokeshire 20 years. I served on the Pembrokeshire LHG and LHB for a total of 10 years. I completed an MBA in 1996, and I along with most others, never had an exit interview from any job in the NHS! I completed an MBA in 1996, and was a runner up for the Adam Smith prize for economy and efficiency in government in that year. This was owing to a suggestion (St Thomas' Mutual) that practices had incentives for saving by being allowed to buy rationed out services in the following year.

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