Campaigners and medical groups have condemned a move to force GPs to hand over patients' confidential records to a central information bank.
The British Medical Association and privacy campaign group Big Brother Watch have hit out at the idea of compelling family dictors to share information on patients' drinking habits, NHS numbers, illnesses and reasons for treatment.
There is no patient opt-out.
The details - referred to by the NHS as "patient identifiable components" - will include everything from diagnosis of cancer to mental illness, and doctors will also have to pass on dates of birth, postcodes and even the date patients died.
GPs will be required to send the information - which the NHS says will be anonymised - to a central database run by the Health and Social Care Information Centre.
A spokesman for the British Medical Association said: "Sharing patient data to help inform commissioning decisions is an important process that can help to improve NHS services, but it must only be done with strict safeguards in place.
"Patients must be given the option to opt out of any scheme that seeks to transfer identifiable information about them from their records to another source.
"This opt-out should be widely advertised and explained in order that patients are reassured and understand the process being carried out."
An NHS commissioning board report also suggests the details could be handed over to third parties, where "permitted by the Data Protection Act."
Big Brother Watch director Nick Pickles said: "Forget putting patients in charge of their medical records, this new giant database will put NHS managers in charge of our most confidential information.
"It is unbelievable how little the public are being told about what is going on, while GPs are being strong-armed into handing over details about their patients and told to not make a fuss."
But the commissioning board's national director for patients and information Tim Kelsey said: "Data collection from GPs has been instigated and designed by GPs themselves.
"Family doctors want to do the best they can for their patients, and they recognise that to do this they need better evidence so that they can better understand their patients' needs."
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