NHS England’s ambitious plans to link patient information across all care settings and build a powerful database are laudable – but its communication about the care.data project, somewhat less so.

Following GPs getting quite uppity about data being taken from records before they had been given a chance to warn their patients, officials announced last week no extractions would begin until a “national awareness” spam mail leaflet – ahem, publicity push – is carried out in January.

Extractions will begin four weeks after the leaflet dump, they said, implying a start-date no later than the end of February…somewhat earlier than the “spring” NHS England had told the Information Commissioner’s Office it was working towards.

When an HSJ scribe questioned the apparent discrepancy, an NHS spinner challenged its inquisitor to “define spring”.

“Well, it’s certainly not February, is it?” said a slightly baffled hack.

“Hmmm…Perhaps, we’re going to have an early spring this year!” responded the official. 

Knowing all commications people to be honest folk, End Game would never dare speculate that they were expecting a delay so we can only commend their optimism.