NHS patient medical history data store

May 2021
Updated: December 2021

The Financial Times reports that NHS Digital is quietly planning to pool sensitive medical records on to a central database and make them available to third parties. NHS Digital had first announced the GP Data for Planning and Research programme on the NHS Digital website and given patients six weeks to opt-out.

The news prompted an immediate and broad backlash from medical professionals, digital rights activists and politicians accusing the government of inadequate transparency about the existence and nature of the programme, in particular about which types of organisations would have access to the data and what they would able to do with it.

The backlash resulted the opt-out period being extended for two months. However, despite widespread concerns about poor transparency, the UK government stated it will would not write to individual patients informing them of the programme.

Operator: National Health Service (NHS)
Developer: NHS Digital
Country: UK
Govt - health
Purpose: Centralise patient records
Technology: Database
Issue: Privacy; Security
Transparency: Governance; Marketing