National data opt-out deadline: When do you have to opt out by?

NHS Digital outlines how patient data is used

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The national data opt-out allows NHS patients to choose how practices handle their data. The right has existed since 2018, but the way officials collect information will change this month. People only have a few weeks left to opt-out, and doctors have criticised the limited timeframe given to practices.

What is the national data opt-out deadline?

The NHS automatically extracts anonymised data from patients for a range of potential purposes.

Practice information goes to NHS Digital and helps both the service and researchers improve their work.

Potential data destinations include Oxford University’s COVID-19 RECOVERY trial and studies into cures for severe illness.

While these causes will ultimately benefit the public, people may have concerns about having their data forwarded to organisations they haven’t personally approved.

NHS Digital will give its programme a facelift this summer, it announced in late May, so people only have a few weeks to opt-out.

The “new and improved” data collection system, named General Practice Data for Planning and Research (GPDPR), debuts on July 1.

Patients need to opt out a couple of weeks earlier, on June 23, giving them just three weeks.

The NHS says: “You can still register your opt-out at any time after this date and it will prevent any more data being shared with NHS Digital.

“You can also register a National Data Opt-out, which will prevent NHS Digital from sharing your identifiable patient data for planning and research purposes.”

How do you opt-out of NHS data sharing?

Thankfully, while people didn’t get much notice, opting out is relatively straightforward.

There are two ways for people to opt-out of NHS data sharing.

The first, a Type One opt out, allows people to stop GP practices sharing data to NHS Digital by preventing them from collecting it in the first place.

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People have to fill in a form either in person or online and send it in before the deadline.

June 23 gives GPs at least a week to process the application ahead of the July 1 rollout.

The second option available to patients allows NHS Digital to take their data but blocks them from sharing it externally.

The National Data Opt-Out will prevent information from going to previously mentioned research organisations.

Those who choose to share their data will allegedly provide information loads which “far exceed” those under previous programmes.

Speaking to GP publication Pulse, data advocate and Hampshire-based GP Dr Neil Bhatia said new plans were “more intrusive than care data in terms of the amount of information being extracted.”

He added everyone should understand what will happen next month and gave a scathing critique of the timeframe provided to patients.

Dr Bhatia said many GPs have tens of thousands of patients and questioned whether they could reach them all in the six weeks provided

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