How GPs will benefit from central data service during coronavirus pandemic

A central service to collect and disseminate data from General Practice is being put together by NHS digital. This project will support GPs in their planning and research for Covid-19.

Currently, GPs are overwhelmed with several requests for data to help in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. This service will help GPs free up time to take care of their patients instead.

How the data collection will work

A long-established service which currently collects data for several uses will be implemented to collect Covid-19 related data on behalf of GPs.

This central collection service will reduce the amount of administration for GPs and help ease their burden, freeing up their time to care for patients.

The extraction of data during the Covid-19 pandemic is a temporary measure that will end when the pandemic eases. It is set be used until 30 September 2020, but will be reviewed, should there be a need for continued use.

Transparency and safety are key

Data will only be provided for approved Covid-19 related purposes and only after being reviewed by the GP profession. Access requests for data will be processed through the NHSX Single Point of Contact, from where requests from NHS Digital, Health Data Research UK and the National Institute of Health Research will be prioritised.

From there, the requests will be forwarded to NHS Digital, which will handle the data under legislation of Covid-19 Public Health Directions 2020. This ensures that there is clarity on why data is being extracted and what it will be used for.

A Transparency Notice was also compiled by NHS Digital to ensure that there is trust between GPs and patients and that they are informed about data collection and usage.

Data crucial during Covid-19

As SARS-Cov-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, is a completely new pathogen, every bit of data ensures a better response against the disease. Dr Peter Short, Clinical Lead for GP Data at NHS Digital, emphasised the importance of data in a press release, not only help health care workers and researchers make better decisions and save lives, but also to relieve the burden on GPs.

“This emergency data collection will free up time for GPs to spend with patients and ensure that the NHS can use data appropriately and transparently to plan and manage services effectively and potentially develop and target new interventions and treatments,” he stated in a press release.

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