A PUBLIC meeting is to be held on controversial plans to share patient GP information throughout the NHS.

Healthwatch Oxfordshire, the official health and social care watchdog, will hold the meeting in September. Details have not been announced.

It hopes the public debate will get patient views on the “care.data” plans, which the NHS has put back six months to the autumn.

Under the plans, GP records will be passed to NHS England in a bid to identify where improvements are needed, unless patients opt out.

Names will not be provided, but practices would be obliged to give information like NHS numbers, date of birth, post code, gender, ethnicity and medical information like diagnoses, prescriptions and alcohol habits.

A Healthwatch statement said: “We recognise the potential benefits from the care.data programme which could be produced as a result of the data being collated and analysed. Despite the potential benefits there are a number of matters which we feel need to be addressed to give the public confidence in agreeing to have their personal data shared in this way.”

It said: “We felt it was important to enable the voices of local people to be heard by NHS England.”

A statement from NHS England said: “More discussion, debate, reassurance and action is needed around issues such as ensuring the public are aware of their choices and are empowered to take informed decisions based upon a clear understanding of the issues.”