The NHS care.data project designed to share anonymised patient data has been scrapped following the intervention of Fiona Caldicott, the National Data Guardian for Health and Care.
The decision was made after Caldicott recommended the implementation of better safeguards for the sharing of patient data following an outcry over the scheme.
However, the government and NHS England remain determined to continue the sharing of health information, including NHS patient records.
Life Sciences minister George Freeman said today: "In light of Dame Fiona's recommendations, NHS England has taken the decision to close the care.data programme.
"However, the government and the health and care system remain absolutely committed to realising the benefits of sharing information as an essential part of improving outcomes for patients.
"Therefore, this work will now be taken forward by the National Information Board, in close collaboration with the primary care community, to retain public confidence and drive better care for patients."
The programme has been questioned by doctors and privacy campaigners since its inception. Concerns were raised over how sensitive medical data would be shared with commercial organisations without citizens having given explicit consent.
NHS England and the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), which was overseeing the scheme, were keen to reassure patients that the data would be anonymised, but they were warned that anonymisation schemes do not always protect people from identification, especially with the application of big data technology.
There have also been questions around general awareness of the programme, as many people were ignorant of its function and how to opt out.
The NHS spent about £1m on sending leaflets to inform citizens, despite an Independent Information Governance Oversight Panel informing the NHS that the leaflests were "not fit for purpose".
Further controversy arose in November when it was found that HSCIC could still release the data of patients who had opted out.
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