Leaflets explaining how the NHS uses patient information will begin landing on the doormats of England’s 26.5 million households from today.
Over the next four weeks, every household in England will receive “Better Information Means Better Care”, a leaflet explaining the potential benefits of sharing information about the care they have received. Sharing information helps ensure that the quality and safety of services is consistent across the country and can also highlight different diseases and conditions that may require more NHS investment.
Households in the North of England will receive their leaflets this week, with the rest of England to follow during January, as announced in October.
As explained in the leaflet, patients have the right to object to their data being used for purposes other than their direct care. If patients wish to restrict their data being used then they should talk to their GP.
An information line has been set up for patients to call if they have any questions or concerns about how their data are used. The number is 0300 456 3531.
Dr Mark Davies, Medical Director at the Health and Social Care Information Centre, said: “The Health and Social Care Information Centre was set up as the legal ‘safe haven’ for protecting and managing patient information. We want everyone to feel confident that their information is kept private and used in non-identifiable form to improve the quality of health and social care for everyone. Equally important is that everyone knows that they have a choice and can raise an objection by simply talking to their GP.”