I’m not going to go on about the ongoing, immoral creeping privatisation of the health service here, though that’s disgusting. If you agree, please take a look at the NHA.
I’m instead wanting to make sure you all know about the effective selling of your medical records to all and sundry. I don’t know about you, but I expect my medical records to be something confidential to people treating me.
What might surprise you is that there are plans to start uploading your medical data to the HSCIC, The national provider of information, data and IT systems for health and social care.
From brief.care-data.info (a website written by a concerned GP):
GP practices nationwide will soon be required to supply patients’ personal and confidential medical information, on a regular and continuous basis, to the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).
Under the Health and Social Care Act 2012, GP practices have no choice but to allow the HSCIC to extract this information.
The Act removes any requirement to seek the consent of either patients or GPs before extracting and uploading the data.
This project, called care.data, is administered by the HSCIC using software and services provided by a private sector company called ATOS.
The HSCIC states that care.data extractions will start from GP surgeries in March 2014*.
The HSCIC will administer the data, and states it intends to use it “for planning health services and for research”.
This is known as secondary uses of your medical records.
Medical staff treating you in GP surgeries, hospitals, A&E, pharmacies and GP out-of-hours centres will not use, or be able to use, this database.
care.data is not about information sharing between healthcare professionals.
The data will be available for sale to people such as:
Universities and other academic organisations
Medical Royal Colleges
and may include:
Your NHS number
Your date of birth
The date you registered with your GP surgery
Your medical diagnoses (including cancer and mental health) and any complications
Your referrals to specialists
Your family history
Your vaccinations and screening tests
Your blood test results
Your body mass index (height/weight)
Your smoking/alcohol habits
Do you fancy that? Imagine if you’ve had a drug habit. You’re now clean, but data that you had a habit is for sale.
I don’t think that is on. Neither do many other people, from concerned GPs to the Open Rights Group, who sent me this:
This is a guest email from Phil Booth, Coordinator of medConfidential – the campaign for confidentiality and consent in health and social care.
You may have heard in recent weeks about something called ‘care.data’ – a new scheme by the arms-length body that is now in charge of the NHS in England, which will soon begin uploading confidential information from your medical record held by your GP.
care.data will involve some of your most private, sensitive information being uploaded, processed and passed on or sold in various forms to researchers, pharmaceutical companies, commissioning bodies, insurers, think tanks, ‘information intermediaries’ – basically any organisation or company that can make a plausible case for access.
The decision has already been taken. If you don’t act now, you’ll lose control of your medical information for ever – because once uploaded, your data will never be deleted.
You can now opt out of your medical records being uploaded to care.data using faxyourgp.com. Contact your GP here:
You have a right to opt out, but the people in charge of the scheme have made it seem as confusing and as difficult as they can. It’s not difficult, but you do need to take action pretty quick. You can opt out here:
More on this at The Register.
Please, read the linked sites, and make your mind up. Consider opting-out.
*This date has now been delayed due to pressure.