The UK’s independent authority set up to uphold information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals.

Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said:

“I welcome the decision to delay the launch of the General Practice Data for Planning and Research (GPDPR) data collection scheme. The appropriate use of health data is an important part of health and care research and planning in England, and better sharing of health data could offer substantial benefits. However, it is clear that there remains considerable confusion regarding the scope and nature of the GPDPR, among both healthcare practitioners and the general public. This includes how data protection rights can be exercised in practice. It is sensible for NHS Digital to take more time to engage with its stakeholders, and consider the feedback it is receiving about its plans.

 “The success of any project will rely on people trusting and having confidence in how their personal data will be used. Data Protection law enables organisations to share data safely and, when it comes to using health information there are particular safeguards that must be put in place to protect people’s privacy and ensure effective transparency. This ensures people’s data isn’t used or shared in ways they wouldn’t expect.

 “We look forward to continuing to engage with NHS Digital regarding this important project.”