A CONTORVERSIAL move from the NHS will see your medical records shared with third parties unless you opt out by June 23.

More than 55 million patients in England will have their NHS data, including on mental and sexual health, addiction and abuse shared with third parties.

The data collection project, is the first of its kind and has caused outrage among privacy campaigners who have raised serious concerns about the “legally problematic” move.

NHS Digital, which runs the country’s healthcare IT systems, insist that all patient details on the new database will remain anonymous and protected with encryption.

But campaigner group Foxglove and patients group JustTreatment have called on Matt Hancock to pause the plan.

On their website they state: “Health data could be used for the good of the NHS. But any changes to how our health data is handled must be done in a transparent, trustworthy, legal way.

“The scheme is being rushed through by stealth. Patients have been denied a meaningful say in what happens with their data.

“No safeguards have been included to prevent private companies using our data for their own profit.”

The database is due to go online July 1, 2021 in England and the deadline for opting out applies to those who live in England and are registered with a GP clinic.

The data will be available to academics and commercial third parties such as pharmaceutical companies. A list of who the information is shared with will be updated each month by NHS Digital.

Patients full addresses, images or videos from consultations, or legally restricted data such as IVF treatment or gender reassignment will not be shared.

The NHS Digital website states: "NHS Digital never sells data and only shares it when it will help health and care and it is safe, ethical and legal to do so.

"We only share the least amount of data required and we do so in the least identifiable way possible.

"The information we share helps researchers and experts to find new treatments and to plan services. For example, our data has been used to find the first treatment for people seriously ill with coronavirus and is being used to support research to find a vaccine."

If you wish to stop NHS Digital sharing your data you need to fill out a type one opt out form and submit it to your GP before June 23.

If you do not fill in the form before the deadline, your historic medical records will permanently feature of the database- opting out after June 23 will only stop future data being added.

The NHS website details: "You can tell your GP practice if you do not want your confidential patient information held in your GP medical record to be used for purposes other than your individual care.

"This is commonly called a type 1 opt-out. This opt-out request can only be recorded by your GP practice."

Advocacy group MedConfidential has criticised the Government for making to option to opt out “difficult” and “confusing”.

They stated: “While you can opt out, they’ve made it deliberately confusing and difficult. There should be better options, but this Government apparently doesn’t want to listen.”

You can find the form required to opt out here.

You can check or change your choice at https://www.nhs.uk/your-nhs-data-matters/ at any time, or by calling 03003035678.