LETTER: Patient choice on data extraction

All Horsham GP practices are about to be involved in a national programme which will securely extract data from the surgeries’ clinical data bases.

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A programme called care.data is to be launched, which will make better use of health information to improve the NHS whilst protecting confidentiality.

For example, it will allow the NHS to see where in England the best outcomes for an illness are so that those planning services locally can learn from best practice and make changes so that all patients receive the best care.

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The data to be extracted will include the patient’s NHS number, date of birth, referrals, diagnoses, vaccinations, biological values (eg blood pressure) and prescriptions, but not the patient’s name and address, nor any consultations or letters attached to the patient’s record.

Information from the different places an individual receives care will be linked securely in a secure system.

Information which does not reveal your identity can then be used by others, such as researchers and those planning health services so improvements can be made to the NHS which benefit everyone.

Occasionally, researchers need to access information which does identify you but only when there is special legal approval and under strict controls.

We believe it is important for all patients to be aware of this new ‘data extraction service’ which affects everyone who is an NHS patient. Data extraction is due to commence in the spring of 2014.

You have a choice. If you are happy for your information to be used in this way you do not have to do anything.

If you have any concerns or wish to prevent this from happening the practice can add a code to your record so that your health information is not extracted. Please speak to practice staff or ask at reception for a copy of the leaflet ‘How information about you helps us to provide better care’.

More information can also be found here www.nhs.uk/caredata and on each practice’s website.

From Horsham practice managers: Janet Yeo - Courtyard Surgery, Heather Heatley - Holbrook Surgery, Clive Farrington - Orchard Surgery, Paula Salerno - Park Surgery, Lynn McCutcheon - Riverside Surgery, Sue Knight - Rudgwick Health Centre, Felicity Belkin - The Village Surgery, Southwater

Albion Way, Horsham