Government response to the National Data Guardian review

12 July 2017        

Category: BHF Comment


The Government has today published its response to the National Data Guardian review, which looked at how to improve security of health and care information and the choices people have about how their data is used.

The Government has accepted the recommendations outlined in the review, which was published in 2016, and will introduce a national opt-out model to allow people to decide how their data is used. Through the opt-out, people will be able to express their preference on sharing data and be able to change their preference. When someone has opted out, this will be respected by all health and care organisations.

Transparency is vital

The Government has also said that transparency over how data is used is vital. By March 2020, people will be able to use online services to see more clearly how their data collected by NHS has been used for purposes other than individual care.

Our response

Simon Gillespie, our Chief Executive, said:

“We are pleased that the Government is committed to addressing this issue, as it is vital for the future of patient care and medical research.

“The patient data stored by our health system is a valuable resource which, properly handled and shared, brings enormous long term benefits to patient care through NHS planning and breakthroughs in medical research.  Patients need to be absolutely confident that their health data will never be shared inappropriately and, if they wish, only used in an anonymised form.

"The publication of the Government’s response is a positive first step. Further work will now be needed to develop the detail of these plans and ensure they are effectively communicated, so that nobody is left uncertain about how their health data might be used and the choices that they have."


read the Government's response in full