This was the second attempt by the government to share confidential patient records following the failed Connecting for Health project that ran from 2003 to 2006. Care.data was cooked up with the 2012 Health and Social Care Act . It took Connecting for Health a step further by making it possible for confidential GP records uploaded to a central database to be shared with organisations outside of the NHS, including of course private companies. The Act created a quango called the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) to oversee the sharing of our data. The option for us to opt-out was available, but since most people were not told anything about this, most people did not opt-out.
NHS England suggested that 'Care.data' would support economic growth by reinforcing the UK
as a global centre for life sciences and health services research, and supporting the development of
a vibrant market place by making comparative data available to 'app' developers and website designers.
Eventually enough people did find out about the scheme, and when a January 2014 article in the Guardian revealed that insurance companies, the pharmaceutical industry and other companies were able to buy our medical records from the HSCIC, a decision was made in February 2014 to 'pause the process'.
Suspicion about the governments intention to allow private companies to make money from our medical data remains, and although the 'Care.data' project was suspended, HSCIC continues in the form of NHS Digital . A 2016 article suggests that our data from hospital admissions are for sale.