A WORCESTER GP has provided a breakdown on NHS Digital's data initiative to help residents make the decision on whether to opt-out.

Dr Jason Seewoodhary, a general practitioner and physician in Worcester, has given his insight of the move in light of the June 23 deadline. Patients have just weeks to opt-out, or they will be allowing the NHS to share sensitive data anonymously to private firms.

He said: "Our health data has the potential to save lives – GP records are the single richest and most valuable source of this kind of information.

"This data can aid research and development into diseases and life-saving treatments, improve public health, and facilitate the development of artificial intelligence and health informatics".

The change will affect 55 million NHS patients across England. Information on mental and sexual health, criminal records, abuse and drugs use will to transferred to a new database.

Dr Seewoodhary said: "NHS Digital uses information and technology to improve health and care with responsibility for standardising, collecting and publishing data and information from across the health and social care systems in England".

He added: "The public can be reassured that Data Sharing Agreements will restrict the use of data to approved purposes. The data collected is used to benefit health and social care in a legal, ethical and transparent manner".

NHS Digital will be moving health records onto one database which can be accessed by third parties. If patients wish to opt-out, they must inform their GP by the deadline or the data will be shared from July 1.

To opt-out, patients can fill out two forms at their local practice.

The first form, will need to be completed by the deadline to opt out completely. The second, called the National Data Opt-out is another option. This has no deadline, but means your data will only be shared with other NHS services.

GP practices in England have been instructed to hand over their patients’ entire medical histories with six weeks’ notice at the Government’s request.