A CITY GP who has vowed to defy controversial NHS plans to collect patient data said he is prepared to fight the ruling through the courts.
Health bosses warned Dr Gordon Gancz, that he will be in breach of his contract if he refuses to hand over 4,000 patient records under the “care.data” plan.
Records will be passed on to NHS England, unless patients opt out, in a move bosses say will help identify where service improvements are needed.
But the King Edward Street Surgery GP will only hand over records if patients give their consent.
An email to the practice from NHS England said: “GPs are required to comply with all relevant legislation as part of their contract and to allow NHS England access to information.
“We therefore believe any GP who prevents the care.data extraction by opting out of part or the whole of his list without their consent to be in breach of his contract.”
Dr Gancz, who has spent all his 38 years as a GP at the practice, opposes the plan on principle and said few patients know of it.
He said: “If they change the rules of the contract half way through, we don’t have get to have a new contract saying ‘we will sign up’.
“Presumably they can say ‘you are in breach of your contract, you are no longer an NHS doctor’.
“If they do that I will take them to court.”
Records and patients’ date of birth, postcode, NHS number and gender will be given to the Health & Social Care Information Centre.
Dr Gancz said: “It removes my right to protect my patients’ confidential information.
“Someone other than your own doctor will know whether you have had a mental health problem, an abortion, gone to the STI clinic or just had a cold in the last week.”
He warned “there isn’t a database in the world that isn’t crackable” and said patients could be identified using the electoral roll. He added: “We have to play a waiting game. I’m prepared to stand by what I have done.”
An NHS England spokesman said: “We want patients to understand how important their information is to improving outcomes and ensuring we all receive the highest standards of care.
“If a patient wishes to object to their information being used for purposes beyond their direct care, they must do so autonomously, based on balanced, accurate information about how and why their information will be used.
“It is not right for GP practices to make this decision on their patients’ behalf.”
City centre resident Susan Twardowski said: “I am a bit of a libertarian myself, so I agree with what he is doing.”
- A LEAFLET called Better information means better care has been delivered by NHS England to homes about the changes.
- Patient records and date of birth, full postcode, NHS number and gender will be provided to the Health & Social Care Information Centre, which collates data on the NHS and social care.
- Patient hospital data has long been collected and published on issues like waiting times and death rates.
- But about 90 per cent of patients’ contact with the NHS is outside major hospitals and supporters say the plans are vital for the NHS to work together across all services.
- The leaflet says records “are linked in a secure system”, adding: “Details that could identify you will be removed before your information is made available to others, such as those planning NHS services and approved researchers.”
- It said benefits include ensuring local NHS organisations get the right amount of cash from Government, and understanding where people are most at risk of disease.