New data security standards have just been approved by the government and in response the CQC has said that there will be ‘strengthened’ inspections in place. GP practices will be required in future to show that they are taking real responsibility for data security standards. Audits will be carried out to the same level as clinical and financial inspections. It has also been recommended that the NHS revisit the care.data project that was shelved some time ago. If this project does go ahead, then the report from the CQC recommends that the opt-out system for patients should be more stringent.
The CQC wants practices to have audits in place to ensure that the right standards are met. The report is calling for consultation with the public to create a model of consent so that patients can opt out if they wish. They could opt out of having private information shared between NHS and social care, and/or opt out of their data being used to support medical research or improvements to treatment and care standards. Alternatively, they can choose to allow their data to be shared.
The report produced by the CQC has been approved by the government and will be used as a document for consultation on the proposals. The authors of the report have said that patients have the right to know how their personal data is being used and how it is being protected.