Leading medical experts have said the controversial NHS database is “fundamental to the future of the health service.”

The project ‘care.data’ plans to pool patients’ private medical records in an attempt to improve the detection of major diseases.

However, the database has been the source of much debate in recent weeks, with members of the general public saying they were unaware of the scheme.

Royal Mail asserts it delivered a leaflet about the care.data scheme to the entire population. It seems this went unnoticed by most, with Sarah Wollaston MP saying it “looked like a bit of junk mail.”

The lack of understanding has caused widespread concern, with many questioning who will be able to access the data and the purposes for which it will be used. Due to the level of public anxiety, the project has been delayed for six months. Despite the setback, Tim Kelsey, the NHS chief overseeing the database, is adamant it will still go ahead.

He claimed it is a “fundamental” step towards treating illnesses such as cancer. “At the moment we have some of the worst cancer survival rates in Europe; the only way we can improve those is if we understand how to treat people better”, he said.

“This is about public confidence…the actual facts are it is unlawful to sell this data for insurance purposes. That message has just got lost.”

This sentiment was backed by leading medical experts, including Professor Peter Weissberg, medical director of the British Heart Foundation. He stated it would be “nigh on disastrous” if the scheme collapsed, saying that without the data “people will continue to die of things we don’t understand.”

The benefits have also been highlighted in a statement made by 10 leading charities, which said: “As leading patient organisations, we believe that use of information contained in patients’ records will be overwhelmingly beneficial: people with serious diseases will be diagnosed earlier and have a better quality of life.

“It would be unethical, and even dangerous, to deprive patients of this”.

Have you suffered poor care?

If you have suffered because of poor medical care and want to talk to a solicitor about your options, please contact us today.

Share Article With:

delicious digg facebook reddit twitter stumble upon