500 GP practices to trial care.data this Autumn

NHS England’s patient information sharing plan care.data is set to be restarted in pilot form this autumn after being put on hold in February this year.

The health organisation’s national director for patients and information Tim Kelsey revealed the plans to roll the scheme out across 500 GP practices later this year during a hearing with the Parliamentary Health Select Committee.

During the meeting, Kelsey argued that “people are dying because we are not linking data” and said that the programme was initially halted due to “very legitimate concerns about the apparent absence of safeguards for the use of data.”

Read more: Controversial NHS care.data system should be opt in, say GPs

The director noted that the pilot scheme will be independently and transparently regulated in order to ensure a new standard can be set.

Such monitors include the Independent Information Governance and Oversight Panel, chaired by Dame Fiona Caldicott who has previously claimed NHS England has not followed her organisation’s recommendations in the past.

Care.data “essential for future of healthcare”

During the Health Committee hearing, Kelsey attempted to explain how important care.data is for the future of healthcare in the UK.

“I think it’ll take time for us to really make it happen in a way that is credible and I think it’s a really big shame that this hasn’t already happened,” he claimed.

Since the six-month delay to care.data was announced, the programme has continued to encounter problems – in May NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said further delays could be expected.

However, earlier this month, it was revealed that many patients would be receiving an “opt-in” letter for the scheme.

This, and the new test drives of care.data, indicates NHS England has been attempting to solve problems and take the project forward.