Breaking news: NHS scheme delayed until “autumn”

I’ve previously written about the NHS “” plan, which promised to improve medical research at the expense of sharing confidential medical data with companies outside your GP surgery. The plan was cooked up a few years ago, but the actual date on which the HSCIC would begin forcing GPs to share their patients’ data was set at an amorphous “Spring 2014”.

Now that date has been delayed until an equally vague “Autumn 2014”.1 Tim Kelsey, the poor chap in charge of this car crash:

“NHS England exists for patients and we are determined to listen to what they tell us. We have been told very clearly that patients need more time to learn about the benefits of sharing information and their right to object to their information being shared. That is why we are extending the public awareness campaign by an extra six months.”

In that time, the NHS/HSCIC has a second chance to actually publicise the initiative, and the various doctors’ groups and data privacy bodies have 6 more months to get the message out about why—at least in its current form—is a really really bad idea.

In the meantime, you can still opt-out using the form here, or you can sit back for a while and see where the whole ridiculous saga goes. With a general election on the horizon, it’ll be particularly interesting to see how the guys running the country deal with the hot potato.