Latest statement on GP data for planning and research

A joint statement from the BMA and RCGP on the latest updates in NHS Digital's GPDPR (GP data for planning and research) programme.

Location: England
Last reviewed: 20 July 2021
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Health minister Jo Churchill has today written to all GPs in England, setting out plans for the next steps for the GPDPR (GP Data for Planning and Research) programme and extending the timeframe beyond 1 September.

The RCGP (Royal College of General Practitioners) and BMA have been closely involved in discussions over the steps that are necessary before any data collection can commence under GPDPR, and welcome the commitments made in these latest plans.

We have always recognised the crucial role that GP data has to play in research and planning which can improve public health but have made it clear that it is important for patients and the public that this data is only made available for appropriate purposes, and in a secure and trusted manner.

We are encouraged by the plans outlined today which will allow more time for improvements to be made to the GPDPR programme and to build understanding and trust amongst the public and the healthcare system. In today’s letter, the Secretary of State commits to ensuring data collection will only begin once important conditions have been met.

We have consistently called for greater and improved communications and engagement around the programme, as well as for a number of improvements to the programme itself. These improvements include the need to simplify Type 1 opt-out processes, ensure the right to deletion of data that has been collected by NHS Digital prior to a type 1 opt-out being registered, and to ensure the security of data collected, by committing not to disseminate data but instead exclusively making data available via a trusted research environment.

It is positive to see that key points have been acknowledged and addressed in the latest plans. We will continue to work closely with the government, NHSX and NHS Digital to ensure that these plans are delivered appropriately and to represent the views of our members as the programme develops.

​Read our joint letter to NHS Digital and NHSX