The deadline for rolling out the care.data scheme has been scrapped, officials have revealed.
The scheme, which aims to improve the sharing of patient records, will only be implemented when “the process is right”, NHS England director for patients and information Tim Kelsey said.
Care.data will now be tested in between 100 to 500 GP practices this Autumn, ahead of a phased national roll out.
The scheme had previously been delayed for six months in February to allow NHS England to improve public confidence.
Kelsey writes: “We cannot improve the safety of patients, and the quality of their care without understanding what happens to them. Data sharing has the power to transform health services.
“Care.data is an integral part of this vision. It’s a programme of work which aims to consistently and systematically use and join up data across hospitals and general practice and make it available to the people who can use it to make services better – clinicians, commissioners, researchers, charities, patients and public – in safe ways that minimise the risk to a person’s privacy being compromised in an age of increasingly sophisticated digital threats.
“Data empowers commissioners to ensure the highest standards of care and clinical safety are met – or shout loudly and respond quickly if standards drop.”