A WARNING has been issued over Government plans to share patient records with third parties.

Doctor Amar Latif, who works at the Eynsham Medical Group, is one of tens of thousands of GPs in the UK ordered to hand over all data to NHS Digital.

He has now joined many medical professionals calling for the delay in the rollout of the national patient data sharing programme and has revealed that he will be opting out in the coming days.

With less than four weeks until the programme gets fully underway, this is what Dr Latif had to say about the data share: "Most patients are not aware that this is happening and that they have to opt out if they do not want their information shared.

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"As a GP, the concern I have is that I do not have any choice as a doctor whether I hand over the data or not.

"We are trying to make people aware, so that people can make an informed decision – if people want to opt out they have to contact their GP surgery.

"Most practices will have something on their website to advertise this is happening but it is very difficult to contact each patient separately."

Dr Latif also pointed out that when a similar programme took place about five years ago everyone received a leaflet with the necessary information through their door from the Government.

He added: "This time, the Government has decided not to do that and GPs have been put in a very difficult position because patients trust us and we have a duty to confidentiality.

"It is fair to say that a lot of doctors feel very concerned about the approach that has been taken."

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Dr Latif confirmed that he has decided to opt out as well and is encouraging his family members to do the same, as he believes this programme is being 'rushed'.

On the current timescale, patients have until Wednesday, June 23, to choose not to share their coded health data, that is held on GP systems, being given to NHS Digital on Thursday, July 1, according to the British Medical Association.

Patients can continue to register Type-1 opt outs at any given point in time, however, once the first extraction has commenced, this will not erase any data held by NHS Digital that has already been shared.

BMA GP committee executive team member and IT lead Dr Farah Jameel said: "Everyone deserves to know what happens to their healthcare data, and throughout our discussions with NHS Digital about this programme, we have stressed the importance of clear communication with the public.

"People need to fully understand what this programme means and crucially, how to opt-out of their data being shared, if this is what they want to do.

"Recent weeks have shown that communication from NHS Digital to the public has been completely inadequate, causing confusion for patients and GPs alike."