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NHS England scraps timelines for care.data

The controversial data sharing initiative will only be rolled out once the ‘process is right’

Ingrid Torjesen

Friday, 09 May 2014

There is now no specific deadline for the start of the official roll out of the care.data initiative, NHS England has announced.

Care.data was due to be rolled out from April, but following concerns about data safety in the initiative, which will see patient data extracted from GP files and linked to those held in secondary care, the Department of Health announced in February a six month delay to the initiative’s roll out.  

This was to “ensure stronger safeguards around the uses of the data, clarity about the rights people have to opt out, and that appropriate, accessible information was available for professionals and the public,” Tim Kelsey, NHS England’s National Director for Patients and Information, said in a blog on 2 May, giving an update on the care.data programme.

After listening to the concerns of patients, the public, GPs and stakeholders on how best to build trust and confidence in the project, it was decided that care.data would be piloted in 100 and 500 GP practices in the Autumn to test, evaluate and refine the data collection process ahead of a national roll out.

However, Mr Kelsey has emphasised that there is now no deadline for this roll out process to begin. “We do not subscribe to artificial deadlines here – we will roll it out nationally only when we are sure the process is right,” he wrote in his blog.

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