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ACT NOW to protect your medical confidentiality


*NEW* 20/1/14 – Jump to resources for GPs

Sometime in early 2014 you may receive a leaflet via junk mail, entitled ‘Better information means better care‘ (2MB PDF file). It may not be clear from the leaflet that a significant change in what is done with your medical records is about to happen.

Unfortunately, NHS England – the commissioning body that now runs the NHS in England – has decided not to include an opt out form with the leaflet and the information in it says you should “speak to your GP practice” if you want to stop your or your family’s confidential medical information being uploaded and passed on.

This is misleading.

You do not have to speak with your doctor or book an appointment. The choice to keep your medical records private is completely down to you; all you need do is inform your GP of your choice, which you can do simply by writing a letter or dropping a form into your surgery.

To make things more straightforward, medConfidential is providing both a form and a letter for you to use. You can use either one of them. Click on one of the links below to download a copy. Print it off, fill in your details, sign it and send it to your GP or drop it into the surgery reception for their attention:

Opt out form (PDF)

Please do take a few moments to e-mail this PDF to your family, friends and colleagues, or send them the link to our download page – www.medconfidential.org/how-to-opt-out – or share it on social media. You might even print off copies of the form (it conveniently prints double-sided and folds to fit in a DL envelope) to give to others who may not have heard about what’s going to happen to their medical records, and won’t know what they can do.

Opt out letter (PDF)

Opt out letter (MS Word)

Opting out will not affect the care you receive and you can change your mind at any point and opt back in if you like. If you have any specific concerns, we recommend you speak with your GP.

As you will see from the letter, there are TWO codes that your doctor will need to add to your record – one to prevent identifiable information being uploaded from your GP practice and one to stop the Health and Social Care Information Centre from passing on identifiable information about you that it gathers from anywhere else, e.g. hospital records, clinics or testing laboratories.

Remember, the choice is yours. You don’t need to justify it but if you want to keep your medical records private and confidential you do need to act now.

Tags: Health, National, confidentiality, database, medical, records

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I can see how the process of asking for information is being deliberately fudged to make it more likely than not that permission will be granted, but might this not be a good thing. We would not have been able to make the link between smoking and cancer if large scale data gathering had not taken place to provide the statistical evidence. Surely this much more detailed evidence will bring even more subtle insights,  and as its proponents suggest enable better, more effective health care. And if only some of us opt out, the one thing we can guarantee is that the statistics gathered will be wrong. Small scale biased samples lead to bad conclusions - look at psychoanalysis and the MMR/autism debacle.


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