Doctors would opt patients out of care.data

A new survey by GP publication Pulse has found that 31 per cent of doctors participating would opt patients out of the care.data scheme themselves.

The controversial programme, which has been hit by numerous problems, will see UK patient information moved to one centralised database.

Care.data was originally set to be an “opt out” scheme – but GP respondents to the magazine’s survey said they would take actions themselves if NHS does not vote to make it opt in.

Read more: 500 GP practices to trial care.data this Autumn

Those who said they would opt patients out themselves claimed they would do so despite it being unlawful and just 32 per cent of the 400 participants said they would not opt patients out.

The remaining 37 per cent said they were unsure.

“Care.data is a fantastic research tool and used properly could help drive change that will benefit us all,” claimed Dr Jeremy Luke, a Crawley-based GP.

“The problem is that the central bureaucracy of the NHS has ignored the rights of individuals,” he added.

“More to worry about than opting out”

The survey also revealed that GPs are concerned that UK citizens have not been properly educated about the programme, despite a costly “awareness scheme.”

Besides this, the doctors surveyed said that inadequate safeguards for care.data are in place and there is a lack of clarity about where and how data can be used.

“What this survey does show is it demonstrates the degree of concerns amongst GPs about the whole programme from our end and we’re concerned on a range of issues beyond the opt-in opt-out,” claimed Dr Chaand Nagpaul, the General Practitioner’s Committee (GPC) chair.