NHS England patients who went to the trouble of opting themselves out of junk mail being crammed through their letterboxes did not receive the health service's recent leaflet about its data grab plan with GP medical records, it has been revealed.
That's despite ministerial mutterings that implied that households across the country would have been informed about the controversial care.data scheme to slurp up our confidential information and add it to a database that already contains hospital records.
The main purpose of the pamphlet was intended to make people aware that their data would be shared automatically if they failed to opt out of the programme.
But a Freedom of Information request submitted by privacy campaigner Phil Booth has revealed that NHS England did not deem the leaflet important enough to be marked under the "exceptional circumstances" bracket of Royal Mail's policy on junk mail.
It meant that those who had opted out of receiving pizza menus, gym membership forms, estate agent flyers and other time-wasting info were exempt from receiving a Better information mean better care pamphlet from the health service explaining "important information about your health records."
An FOI response revealed:
NHS England did not seek for the leaflet to be classified as being ‘exceptional circumstances’ as we understood that the leaflet would not qualify. This means that the leaflet has not been delivered to households that have registered with the Royal Mail’s ‘door to door opt-out’. The leaflet has been delivered to households where an individual has registered with the Mail Preference Service.
Last week, NHS England delayed the care.data scheme for six months after GP groups in the country demanded the government to do a better job of explaining what it plans to do with patients' medical records.
The doctors revealed their concerns after many patients complained that they had never seen the leaflet. ®