GDPR confusion affected numbers taking up health checks, say Suffolk health leaders
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Health checks for 40 to 74-year-olds are on the rise again following concerns that confusion over new GDPR laws was causing fewer people to take them up.
Suffolk County Council’s scrutiny committee was told in December that the number of people taking up NHS health checks – assessments for adults aged over 40 aimed at identifying the early signs of illnesses such as dementia or heart disease – had fallen.
The committee raised concerns that confusion over new GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) rules had put people off having the health checks, but public health bosses have said that all issues had been resolved.
Dr Amanda Jones, director for public health at Suffolk County Council said: “While GDPR did have an impact on parts of the health check programme, the issues have now been resolved through good communication and partnership working.
“In Suffolk we have seen the number of health checks steadily increase in the last quarter thanks to the great work of our GPs, pharmacies and outreach services who are delivering the checks.
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“Currently there is 44.9% uptake for health check invitations in Suffolk with 100% of the eligible population being invited.
“Suffolk still remains one of the best health check providers among our statistical neighbours and still performing within the England national average.
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“Work is ongoing to make improvements which will better support our primary care providers and the offer to those entitled to a health check.”
It is understood the decline seen during the summer of 2018 had been in line with national trends, while the scrutiny committee update report for this month said that it was “difficult to determine the extent to which GDPR has contributed to this”.
The report said the confusion was around whether the documentation of the checks was GDPR compliant.
It added: “The data protection manager at Suffolk County Council is not aware of any other instances where GDPR has had an impact on service delivery.”
Changes to data protection laws were introduced in May last year which aimed to give individuals more rights over the control of information about them, with businesses, voluntary organisations and public bodies having to cope with a raft of changes about the kinds of data stored.