Time for a comprehensive, considered and well-communicated GP data programme, says BMA

by BMA media team

Press release from the BMA.

Location: England
Published: Monday 19 July 2021

Responding to the news that NHS Digital (NHSD) and the Government have agreed to delay the introduction of the new General Practice data programme (GPDPR), BMA GP committee executive team member Dr Farah Jameel said:

“We have been consistent in calling for a delay and we are relieved that there will now be time to ensure the final programme is comprehensive, considered and well-communicated. The GP data programme is a monumental step change in the way confidential health care data will be used so it’s vital that government and the programme designers bring the profession and public with them so that they can be confident about the plans.

“We’ve been saying for months now that there has not been enough transparent communication with the public about the programme and the ramifications for patients in terms of opting-out if they wish. We felt that the original timelines were too short, and messaging was either non-existent or insufficient and confused. Several times we have urged improved communication to engender public trust and to allow the public, our patients, our communities enough time to make an informed decision about their personal health data.

“Through commitments secured, NHS Digital now has enough time to put together a wide-ranging communications campaign for the public. We welcome pledges made by Government, NHSX and NHS Digital to deliver a series of improvements to their original programme design, features which we have been recommending. We also await details of how the proposed criteria for when the scheme will get underway will be measured, along with timescales.

“We look forward to working with NHSD to ensure that the programme, agreed improvements and particularly the public engagement campaign, strikes the right tone, engenders public and the profession’s confidence, meets the test of transparency and that the views of the medical profession are represented.”

Notes to editors

The BMA is a professional association and trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.