Patient information from the lsle of Man will not be included in a project by NHS Digital to collect patient data in England for planning and research purposes. But the gov says Manx residents can be reassured that their data is safely ring-fenced from the project, and they do not need to take any action.
The gov has confirmed that the GPDPR initiative (general practice data for planning and research) applies to GP practices in England only. The position is highlighted after concerns were raised about the collection of patient data for a central NHS digital database from September 2021*, under legislation which allows the UK Secretary of State for Health to do so.
Patient data held by GPs in the Isle of Man is managed in the bespoke EMIS healthcare records system, and operates so that only the surgery and the patient can see the information. The system has enabled Patient Access, a free, digital facility which allows people to make GP appointments, order prescriptions, check test results and view their own information via a mobile or home computer.
While Patient Access in the Isle of Man mirrors systems in the UK, it is entirely separate. Access to GP records is on an opt-in basis for which the patient gives their explicit consent.
Minister for Health and Social Care David Ashford said: ‘I am aware of the concerns of Island patients in the wake of the media coverage of NHS Digital’s plans in England, to create a database for research purposes. There has never been any proposal for the Island to be included in this process and I categorically confirm that we are not. There is no question of having to opt-out of the process – as we were never in it.
‘The UK Secretary of State of Health has exercised his power under Primary legislation for the collection of data. The Isle of Man is a separate jurisdiction, and we don’t have any equivalent legislation, or any legal ‘gateway’ that would permit such data gathering.
‘So please do not worry about this. Island GPs will remain the guardian of their patients’ data.’
Patients that have signed up with their GP practice to access their GP records can also download and use the NHS App. With their consent, patients can use the NHS App to view their GP record.