NHS Digital statement
Nic Fox, Director of Primary and Social Care Technology said: “We apologise unreservedly for this issue, which has been caused by a coding error by a GP system supplier (TPP) and means that some people’s data preferences have not been upheld when we have disseminated data. The TPP coding error meant that we did not receive these preferences and so have not been able to apply them to our data.
We worked swiftly to put this right and the problem has been resolved for any future data disseminations.
This issue would not be able to occur using the new National Data Opt-Out, which has been recently introduced and puts the individual in direct control of their data sharing preferences. Data sharing preferences can now be registered via a simple to use website or by phone or paper form, with the information going directly to NHS Digital rather than being recorded by a GP on a third party system.
We take seriously our responsibility to honour citizen’s wishes and we are doing everything we can to put this right. No patient’s personal care and treatment has been affected but we will be contacting affected individuals.”
- Around 150,000 patients have registered a type 2 opt-out in TPP practices (GP practices using SystmOne) which have not subsequently been sent to NHS Digital, due to a coding error in SystmOne. This means that NHS Digital were unable to honour these objections as we were unaware of them.
Patients are affected if they registered a type 2 opt-out in a GP practice using SystmOne, after 31 March 2015.
We will be writing to affected patients to make them aware of the issue and to let them know that they have been affected.
- No patient’s personal care and treatment has been affected by this issue and we have informed GPs, the Information Commissioner’s Office and the National Data Guardian.
- All objections are now being honoured.
- TPP have worked closely and co-operatively with NHS Digital to resolve this issue as soon as it was identified and we are confident that we are now respecting all opt-outs that have been recorded in the system. We will also be contacting organisations with whom we have shared data that may have been affected, and work with them to destroy the data where possible
Dr John Parry, Clinical Director at TPP, said: “TPP and NHS Digital have worked together to resolve this problem swiftly. The privacy of patient data is a key priority for TPP, and we continually make improvements to our system to ensure that patients have optimum control over information. In light of this, TPP apologises unreservedly for its role in this issue.”
TPP will work with NHS Digital to ensure that testing and assurance of patient data extracts is enhanced to ensure that errors of this nature do not occur again. TPP will continue to work closely with NHS Digital to make sure that patient wishes are always treated with the utmost importance.
Further information about an error that meant some patients who had registered a type 2 opt-out did not have their wishes respected.
Letter to TPP practices about a data breach concerning Type 2 opt outs, for General Practitioners using TPP SystmOne.
If you are not using SystmOne, supplied by TPP, then you have been unaffected by this issue.
Statistical analysis of national data opt-outs and how they might affect data used for research and planning.