National Association for Patient Participation

Progress on Cyber Security and Data-Sharing

25 July 2017

The information we share with our GP is incredibly personal, so it’s really important this data is stored securely and we feel confident it is shared appropriately.

The cyber-attack in April which severely affected IT systems across the NHS was a wake-up call to many working in the health service, so we were pleased the Government’s recent announcement on data sharing and cyber-security accepted the recommendations made by Dame Fiona Caldicott, the National Data Guardian, in full.

 The RCGP was involved in the development of these proposals and we agree with Dame Fiona on the need to build public trust, increase investment and develop better alert systems.

We also support Dame Fiona’s proposal for a new opt-out system for the sharing of personal confidential data. Having access to a patient’s record makes a big difference to healthcare professionals delivering care to that patient. Knowing the patient’s medical history means they are able to identify issues and provide care more quickly, and saves the patient having to repeat their story.

But there are also lots of benefits of sharing anonymised patient data more widely – it is vital for research and also helps the NHS to plan for where particular services are needed.

This is a positive step in the right direction and we will be urging the Government to ensure that the resources and training needed to implement Dame Fiona’s recommendations are made available to the health service.

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