Thank you for writing to me about General Practice Data for Planning and Research (GPDPR).
The data held in the GP medical records of patients is used every day to support health and care planning and research in England, helping to find better treatments and improve patient outcomes for everyone. GPDPR is a new form of data collection which makes the process more efficient, reducing the burden on GP practices.
Data collected from general practice supports research and analysis to help run and improve health and care services, develop health and care policy, establish public health monitoring and interventions, and enable different areas of research. For example, the data will be used to understand healthcare inequalities, and to understand the long-term impact of coronavirus on the population.
It is possible to opt out from this data collection, which you can find more about using the following link:
You can also find more information about the legal basis for collecting this data.
It is my understanding that NHS Digital will not collect patients' names or addresses. Any other data that could directly identify patients, such as NHS Number, date of birth or full postcode, will be replaced with unique codes produced by de-identification software prior to any sharing.
I welcome that the Secretary of State, Matt Hancock, and Minister for Care, Helen Whately, have announced a delay to the deadline for this programme, including the opt-out, a move which has been supported by the British Medical Association and Royal College of General Practitioners. It is important that we are able to use data to save lives, but it is equally important that we do so in such a way as to ensure people fully understand the process and have every opportunity to engage.
It is my understanding that the implementation date will now be 1st September, with the additional time being used to engage with members of the public and ensure people fully understand the process, and are able to opt out if they so choose.
Please be assured that I will follow developments with this programme very closely indeed.
Thank you again for writing to me.
With best wishes.
Jonathan Lord MP
Member of Parliament for Woking