The Practice will soon be required to supply your personal and confidential medical Information to the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).

The HSCIC is England’s central, authoritative source of health and social care information. The Health and Social Care Act 2012 (HSCA) empowered the HSCIC to require providers of NHS care to send it confidential data in limited circumstances i.e. when directed to do so by the Secretary of State for Health, NHS England or when receiving a mandatory request from the Care Quality Commission (CQC), NICE or Monitor. The HSCIC will process the confidential data in a secure environment and can only release confidential data where there is a legal basis.

This information will be taken from the practice in a form that can identify you. The data to be extracted from GP systems includes information such as family history, vaccinations, diagnoses, referrals, biological values (such as blood pressure, BMI and cholesterol) and all NHS prescriptions. Identifiers (DOB, postcode, NHS number and gender) are required to link the GP data with personal confidential data from other care settings in order to analyse patient care across pathways.

Your date of birth, postcode, NHS number, and gender (but not your name) will be used to link your records in a secure environment before being deleted. Once this information has been linked, a new record will be created. This new record will not contain any information that identifies you.

The Practice is legally obliged to allow the HSCIC to extract this information.

However, individual patients can instruct their Practice to stop the transfer of their data.

What are the benefits?
Sharing information can help improve understanding, locally and nationally, of the most important health needs and the quality of the treatment and care provided by local health services. It may also help researchers by supporting studies that identify patterns in diseases, responses to different treatments and potential solutions.
Information will also help to:
• find more effective ways of preventing, treating and managing illnesses;
• guide local decisions about changes that are needed to respond to the needs of local patients;
• support public health by anticipating risks of particular diseases and conditions, and help us to take action to prevent problems;
• improve the public’s understanding of the outcomes of care, giving them confidence in health and care services; and
• guide decisions about how to manage NHS resources fairly so that they can best support the treatment and management of illness for the benefit of patients.

Can I opt out?
Yes. You have the right to prevent confidential information about you from being shared or used for any purpose other than providing your care, except in special circumstances. If you do not want information that identifies you to be shared outside your GP practice, ask your practice to make a note of this in your medical record. This will prevent your confidential information being used other than where necessary by law, (for example, if there is a public health emergency).
You will also be able to restrict the use of information held by other places you receive care, such as hospitals and community services. You should let your GP know if you want to restrict the use of this information.
Your choice will not affect the care you receive.

Do I need to do anything?
If you are happy for your information to be shared you do not need to do anything. There is no form to fill in and nothing to sign and you can change your mind at any time.
Alternatively you can choose to not allow the HSCIC to extract any of your personal data, or to allow the HSCIC and the rest of the NHS to use your personal data but not allow 3rd parties access to it for research.

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