I sympathise with concerns raised regarding collecting patient data and GDPR. However, I would like to reassure you that the Government is committed to advance the use of digital technology in health and social care while maintaining the highest standards of privacy and ethics.
NHS Digital functions legally transferred to NHS England on 1 February 2023. Consequently, NHS England is now responsible for ensuring it meets obligations to protect people’s data. Data protection law will continue to apply. This means there must always be a valid, lawful basis for the collection and processing of personal information including special category information within federated data platforms and any other NHS England IT system, as defined under data protection legislation. Data protection impact assessments must be carried out and privacy notices published which explain what data is collected, analysed and shared and for what purposes.
In May, the Department of Health and Social Care published its guidance that sets out how NHS England will protect patient data, following the transfer of H+NHS Digital's responsibilities. The guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/nhs-englands-protection-of-patient-data.
NHS England is also legally required to report annually to Parliament on how well it has discharged its data functions. NHS England also makes an annual Data Security and Protection submission which demonstrates how they meet data protection obligations.
The Government published its strategy Data Saves Lives: Reshaping Health and Social Care with Data in June last year. This set out how digital capabilities will enable health and social care to be delivered in a much faster and more effective way, and with a greater emphasis on personalised care. This strategy is supported by the Government’s Plan for Digital Health and Social Care which outlined a £2 billion investment to digitise the NHS and at least £150 million to support digital transformation in social care.
Finally, the Government is also enabling frontline clinicians to deliver care efficiently, effectively and safely through Electronic Patient Record (EPR) systems. By December 2023, 90 per cent of NHS trusts should have EPRs in place and 100 per cent by March 2025. In September 2022, the Government published its Our Plan for Patients strategy. This committed to using joined-up data and digital tools to increase patient choice and operational productivity. It also committed to freeing-up time to allow carers to care by using IT to reduce bureaucracy.
Read more on the handling of NHS data here: https://digital.nhs.uk/data