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NHS Digital to collect GP practice data to ‘support coronavirus response’

by Costanza Pearce
18 May 2020

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NHS Digital is to start collecting coronavirus data from general practice to ‘ease the burden’ on GP practice, according to an email addressed to practice managers.

The fortnightly central data collection will support ‘planning, monitoring and research’ as part of the Covid-19 response and comes as a result of a ‘direct request’ from the BMA and RCGP, NHS Digital said.

Practices were asked to share confidential patient information with the Government in April to ‘support the secretary of state’s response’ to Covid-19.

They must now register their participation on the Calculating Quality Reporting Service (CQRS) by 27 May and update their practice’s transparency notice on their website to ensure patients are informed, NHS Digital said. 

It added: ‘GPs are being overwhelmed with requests for data to support the response to coronavirus. This collection will allow more time for GPs to care for patients.’

The temporary solution, which is set to end on 30 September subject to review, aims to reduce administration and ‘ease the burden on GPs’, NHS Digital said.

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General practice data, which will be collected via the existing GP extraction service infrastructure, will only be shared to ‘support the coronavirus response’ in line with ‘robust information governance standards and independent oversight’, it said.

‘The GP profession will also be involved before data is made available in response to any request’, NHS Digital added.

It has provided a ‘template GP transparency notice’ so that practices can let patients know about the data collection via their websites, it said.

NHS Digital clinical lead for GP data Dr Peter Short said: ‘Data is crucial to enabling an effective response to the coronavirus pandemic and will help the health and social care system and researchers to save lives. 

‘This emergency data collection will free up time for GPs to spend with patients and ensure that the NHS can use data appropriately and transparently to plan and manage services effectively and potentially develop and target new interventions and treatments.’

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