You’ve Been Warned…

The database that will store the entire nation’s health records has a series of “backdoors” that will allow police and government bodies to access people’s medical data.

And no. It won’t matter if you’ve opted out, as you’re advised to do in these very pages.

Advocates say that sharing data will make medical advances easier and ultimately save lives because it will allow researchers to investigate drug side-effects or the performance of hospital surgical units by tracking the impact on patients.

Oh, of course they do. Of course they do.

Brian Jarman – the co-founder of Dr Foster, the healthcare information provider, and professor of health economics at Imperial College – said the system should be “opt in, not opt out”. He said: “There is simply too much data and the risks that something leaks are too great. We need to slow this process down to ensure we have the right checks in place.”

Slow it down? I’d rather see it stopped in its tracks…

A Department of Health spokesperson said: “There are strong legal safeguards in place to protect patients’ confidentiality. If people do not want their data to be shared, they can speak to their GP and information will not leave the surgery. Any release of identifiable data without consent would only be in a very limited number of exceptional circumstances, where there is a clear basis in existing law – such as for the police to investigate a serious crime.”

No slippery slope here, nothing to see, move along, citizen…

6 comments for “You’ve Been Warned…

  1. ivan
    February 10, 2014 at 11:55 am

    Do those legal safeguards include a persons right to take the people that set up this to court if anything goes wrong? Thought not!

  2. John
    February 10, 2014 at 6:22 pm

    I handed my form to opt out into the GP surgery this afternoon but frankly I expect it will probably just get thrown in the bin anyway. The NHS is grimly determined to sell my life for a few quid (not that I will receive any of the money) and frankly it’s a done deal regardless of whether I refuse permission or not.

    And why do I say that? Well look at the Government’s record not to mention that of GCHQ…

  3. Rossa
    February 10, 2014 at 7:46 pm

    I saw my GP today and saw clearly, in bold, on my notes on his screen that I had dissented from this scheme. Handed in my letter last month. Whether or not They ignore this, I have made my position clear. From what I understand about this it’s not about using the data for medical care but to make money for the private corporation set up for this purpose. The fact that GPs are being threatened by the NHS rather gives the game away.

    And the anodyne responses that my data would be anonymised are worthless. A similar project in the US was brought to a halt when a college student managed to identify people by using their equivalent of the electoral roll. Enough said as we all know how good the Govt and these quangos are good at keeping our data safe, don’t we?

  4. Furor Teutonicus
    February 11, 2014 at 8:36 am

    XX they can speak to their GP and information will not leave the surgery.XX

    Good….WHEN one HAS a G.P.

    What happens to those files when a person leaves the country, and therefore HAS no “G.P?” (Because, even after many requests from my Doctor here, and eventualy the Gesundheitsamt (Our “No Hospital Safe system)they absolutely REFUSED to hand my files over.

    How do you stop THOSE files being raided?

  5. Woman on a Raft
    February 11, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    The essence of the 1983 Gillick ruling was this: that from quite a young age, people have to be able to rely on the confidentiality of their medics. There was never a dispute that adults must be able to rely on confidentiality, only the point at which this started. Yes, this means the doctors keep some bad secrets. The alternative is that they are not asked to help at all.

    This plan flies in the face of all of that. Youngsters will have to be warned that on no account should they seek medical help since that information will be transferred to their parents, school, the social services. Expect to see suicide rates rise.

    There was a time when the likes of Stonewall and the Terrence Higgins Trust campaigned very sensibly to make it so that people could seek treatment for HIV for the protection of the wider society. Part of that was guaranteeing their confidentiality and preventing things such as forcing disclosure that an HIV test had ever been sought.

    Yes, bad things happen as a result of that confidentiality. Much worse things happen if it is not available. Nothing about this logic is wrong, mistaken, or has changed since the 1980s.

  6. Tatty
    February 11, 2014 at 5:19 pm

    “…sharing data will make medical advances easier and ultimately save lives because it will allow researchers to investigate drug side-effects or the performance of hospital surgical units by tracking the impact on patients.

    Translation: How many did we kill this week.

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