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NHS postpones until autumn

The roll-out of NHS England’s patient data sharing scheme is to be delayed until autumn 2014, it has been revealed. was due to begin in April, but following been concerns over NHS England’s communications campaign and claims that not everyone has received leaflets explaining the project, it is has been pushed back.

This information was supposed to have been sent to every household in the UK, however some people are yet to receive it.

The Royal College of GPs, the British Medical Association, Healthwatch England and the Information Commissioners’ Office all raised concerns about patient privacy and the need for clearer explanation.

“To ensure that the concerns are met, NHS England will begin collecting data from GP surgeries in the autumn, instead of April, to allow more time to build understanding of the benefits of using the information, what safeguards are in place, and how people can opt out if they choose to,” says an NHS spokesperson.

Professor Nigel Mathers, honorary secretary of the RCGP thanked the NHS England for listening to the concerns of RCGP members and for acting quickly to announce this pause.

“The extra time will provide it with the chance to redouble its efforts to inform every patient of their right to opt out, every GP of how the programme will work, and the nation of what robust safeguards will be in place to protect the security of people's data,” he says.