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Practices advised to update privacy information ahead of GP data collection launch

by Jess Hacker
12 May 2021

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GP practices have been advised to update the current privacy notice on their website ahead of the launch of NHS Digital’s new GP data collection service in July.

The General Practice Data for Planning and Research (GPDPR) service, which launches on 1 July, will replace the existing General Practice Extraction Service (GPES).

NHS Digital sent out a data provision notice (DPN) today (12 May), which practices must comply with by registering their participation on their GP medical record system.

Data will only be provided to NHS Digital after a practice has registered, the notice said.  

It follows a National Audit Office review of the GPES in 2014, which concluded that the service was ‘inefficient and costly’ and should be replaced and improved.

According to NHS Digital, the new data collection system will ‘significantly increase’ speed and efficiency around appropriate access to data, reducing the burden on GPs.  

The organisation has provided a ‘GP Practice Privacy Notice’ which practices can link to from their website, informing patients about the new system in line with GDPR regulations.

Patients who do not want their identifiable data shared are able to opt-out, NHS Digital said, and should notify and submit a form to their practice by 23 June.

Under the changes, once data has been extracted from patient records and shared, NHS Digital will become the responsible and accountable data controller in line with UK GDPR.

Reduced admin

The Royal College for General Practitioners (RCGP) and the British Medical Association (BMA) said in a joint statement that they were ‘broadly supportive’ of the principles of the new collection.

‘The RCGP and BMA, through our joint GP IT Committee, have been engaged with the planning of this new collection over the past three years and made representations on behalf of GP practices to ensure stronger arrangements were put in place over the security and intended uses of the data collected,’ the statement said.

It added: ‘We are broadly supportive of the principles of the new collection in seeing fewer extracts of data and a reduced administrative burden for general practice.

‘We will continue to work closely with NHS Digital to ensure there are appropriate safeguards in place as to how the data collected under this new DPN is used, and to support the evolution of NHS Digital’s trusted research environment in order to minimise the need to disseminate data to researchers.’