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Former Deal mayor Eileen Rowbotham says people can opt out of new NHS Digital patient data system

A former mayor wants people to decide whether they want their medical records shared in a new data collection system.

This begins on July 1 but patients have until June 23 to, through their GP practice, not allow use of their details.

How patient data is handled changes on July 1
How patient data is handled changes on July 1

Deal town councillor Eileen Rowbotham said: "The Government has conceded that it should afford individuals the option of opting out of this process, which is not entirely straightforward."

She explained it requires access to the internet, a printer, delivery of a written document to the individual patient's GP and completion of a second online form.

Cllr Rowbotham, who was town mayor from 1994 to 1995 and 2019 until this year, added: "I think that as many people as possible should be made aware of the situation.

"It may not be anything to be concerned about but people should have had the opportunity to opt in rather than out."

The organisation NHS Digital collects, analyses and shares patient data for planning and research to improve healthcare.

Patients are left unidentifiable.

Cllr Eileen Rowbotham
Cllr Eileen Rowbotham

It has been used during the coronavirus pandemic to inform government response and for vaccine planning.

NHS Digital has now developed a new way to handle this data, called the General Practice Data for Planning and Research. This is to relieve GP practices of the task.

For full details, including how to opt out, visit the web section digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information and search under GPDPR

Read more: All the latest news from Deal

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