Committee to debate sharing medical data

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Health chiefs in Sheffield are setting up a ‘select committee inquiry’ into an NHS project to share medical records.

The inquiry will bring together patients and healthcare professionals, as well as data and ethics experts, to debate the pros and cons of the scheme.

Under the project - currently delayed until the autumn - anonymised data from GP records will be linked with information from hospitals to give an idea of what happens to people at all stages of the NHS.

Supporters say it will improve standards of care, but concerns have been raised about confidentiality and patient consent.

The Sheffield committee will meet in public three times over the next two months, hearing from witnesses.

Organiser Dr Charles Heatley said: “For years health organisations in the city have talked about better data sharing but patients and professionals are expressing concerns.

“We hope that by bringing people at polar ends of the argument together and having open, honest conversations in public we will be able to go some way to resolving this.”

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