Thursday, 14 June 2018

Health Matters - Opt Out, Care Records, Extended Access, New Hospital



Six Issues in tonight’s DriveTime

  •       National Data Opt Out
  •       My Care Record
  •       GP Extended Access
  •       Carers’ Week
  •       A New Hospital?
  •       NHS at 70

1. National Data Opt-Out
Imagine going to your doctor’s surgery; a receptionist will enter information into the PC in front of them, a nurse or a doctor will key in information when you see them; it is all patient data! But further – it’s your data! And yours to control. But where does it all go once it’s keyed in?

For years, only the surgery could see it; and therefore it was safe. But now it’s all uploaded to a central system managed by NHS Digital, and it can be used further. So how can it be used:
  •       For your direct care – for example at A&E or when you’re away from home.
  •       For response to critical emergencies – fir example a flu epidemic.
  •       For planning purposes – for example to answer questions like “how many people are diabetic in Hertfordshire?
  •       For research purposes – either within the NHS or by the pharmaceutical companies.
For the NHS web site that explains it all, go to https://www.nhs.uk/your-nhs-data-matters/ 

But there are many more databases than just the one at your surgery; imagine going into Hospital, or A&E; they’ll have lots of data too; that’s called Hospital Episode Statistics and the NHS has been selling that (in anonymised form) for some time! Are you happy for your personal data to be used in this way? Well up to now, you didn’t have a choice; but GDPR and May 25th changed all that! In the main, most of us would say that, if our data helps others then that’s all fine. But is it safe?

For many years people have argued that if data is to be shared it should meet three criteria; it must be:
  •       Open
  •       Consensual
  •       Safe

And if you’d like to see how all of the data that the NHS holds on you matches up to those three criteria there’s a full list here https://medconfidential.org/for-patients/loopholes/  

From May 25 – “GDPR Day” – the NHS has given you a choice; it’s called the National Data Opt Out. For full details go to https://www.nhs.uk/your-nhs-data-matters/ . You can opt out of your data being shared for anything apart from your direct care. And for what to do if you do decide to opt out, go to

For some time now people have been able to express an opt out to the NHS; so far their wishes have been ignored. People who have already opted out should receive a letter about the National Opt Out; I’m still waiting for mine! Have you received one yet?

There is a huge issue around anonymisation; there are two approaches to this, pseudonymisation – identifiable data is scrambled by a random formula; and anonymisation – identifiable data is removed. There is a view that under only fully anonymised data is acceptable; although that view is taken in Ireland and in many EU countries, it is still undecided in the UK.

2. My Care Record
Your records are being shared for your direct care; the process is known as “My Care Record”. If you’re taken to Watford A&E and a healthcare professional needs to access your record they will be able to do it provided you give your consent. They will only be able to see the record; they won’t be able to add to it or change it in any way.

3. GP Extended Access
We talked about Extended Access last month; that’s another example of where your records are being shared with others for your direct care.  So, if you’d prefer a doctors’ appointment in the evenings or at weekends, you should be able to book one through your Surgery. These appointments may be another surgery acting as a "hub"; here are the hours at which this service is currently available; the plan is to introduce early mornings soon.

Day
Times
Weekdays
18.30 – 20.00
Saturdays
09.00 – 13.00 & 15.00 – 19.00
Sundays
09.00 – 13.00

Our choice of evening and weekend appointments should be on an equal footing to normal hours appointments. For further information check your Practice web site; for example, for Lodge Surgery Patients go to (it’s embedded on a page on privacy so you’ll need to page down!).
https://www.lodgesurgery.co.uk/practice-information/privacy-notice/

4. Carers’ Week
This week is carers’ week; time to celebrate the great job they do for people in our area. In a recent survey, 38% of carers locally stated that they had lost touch with friends and family as a consequence of their caring duties. There are a number of events for carers organised in Hertfordshire during Carers’ Week; just go to http://www.carersinherts.org.uk/how-we-can-help/carers-week-2018 for a full list.

5. A New Hospital?
Should we have a new centrally locate hospital? There’s a new group with an inaugural meeting next week – June 20. For details, go to http://www.hertsvalleyshospital.co.uk/

6. NHS at 70To celebrate the NHS, turns 70 on July 5th make a pledge – go here for details go to http://www.enhertsccg.nhs.uk/sites/default/files/Engagement/nhs70/NHS70.pdf

As for my NHS 1,000 mile challenge, I’m 2 miles ahead!

So, this is a great time to support your NHS!

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