UK: ACT NOW to protect your medical confidentiality

11 February 2014 — medConfidential

Update 21 Feb: There is now a website dedicated to opting out at faxyourgp

*BREAKING NEWS* 7/2/14 – NHS England leaflet misleads patients about opt out

Sometime in January 2014 you may have received a leaflet via junk mail, entitled ‘Better information means better care‘ (2MB PDF file). It may not be clear from the leaflet that a significant change in what is done with your medical records is about to happen.

Unfortunately, NHS England – the commissioning body that now runs the NHS in England – decided not to include an opt out form with the leaflet and the information in it says you should “speak to your GP practice” if you want to stop your or your family’s confidential medical information being uploaded and passed on.

This is misleading.

You do not have to speak with your doctor or book an appointment. The choice to keep your medical records private is completely down to you; all you need do is inform your GP of your choice, which you can do simply by writing a letter or dropping a form into your surgery.

To make things more straightforward, medConfidential is providing both a form and a letter for you to use. You can use either one of them. Click on one of the links below to download a copy. Print it off, fill in your details, sign it and send it to your GP or drop it into the surgery reception for their attention:

Opt out form (PDF)

Please do take a few moments to e-mail this PDF to your family, friends and colleagues, or send them the link to our download page – – or share it on social media. You might even print off copies of the form (it conveniently prints double-sided and folds to fit in a DL envelope) to give to others who may not have heard about what’s going to happen to their medical records, and won’t know what they can do.

Opt out letter (PDF)

Opt out letter (MS Word)

Opting out will not affect the care you receive and you can change your mind at any point and opt back in if you like. If you have any specific concerns, we recommend you speak with your GP.

As you will see from the letter, there are TWO codes that your doctor will need to add to your record – one to prevent identifiable information being uploaded from your GP practice and one to stop the Health and Social Care Information Centre from passing on identifiable information about you that it gathers from anywhere else, e.g. hospital records, clinics or testing laboratories.

Remember, the choice is yours. You don’t need to justify it but if you want to keep your medical records private and confidential you do need to act now.

See also this excellent site, created by a GP: for more information.

2 thoughts on “UK: ACT NOW to protect your medical confidentiality

  1. Shona says:

    What about Historic records for patients who are no longer living in England and Wales but have previously joined GP surgeries in England and Wales? Are those records also sent? Even opting out means that we are still relying on GP surgeries complying with our request. How do we know they have complied? Having our personal information outside of the GP surgery without consent means that patients are less likely to seek help for illnesses which may prevent them getting a job. This is an absolutely appalling idea. Those who accuse people of scaremongering should be the only ones whose data is on a database outside of GP surgeries.


    • InI says:

      Hmmm, when I approached my GP about they’d not even heard of it! And given that funding to GP surgeries has been drastically cut, I worry that one of the things to go will be their desire to protect our privacy.


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