The pandemic seems to have been an opportunity to allow government to put forward a new suggestion under the radar of Covid-19 and the lockdown problems. Until recently very little was mentioned in the media or news, yet it concerns each individual in this country.
Last month The Guardian reported that the NHS is being encouraged to “put all medical histories of more than 55 million patients into a data base available to academic and commercial third parties for research and planning purposes” and that would include anonymised mental and sexual health details, criminal record and more sensitive information.
Leaflets have been delivered to some GP practices. However, unable to access doctors most of the last year and half during the pandemic, very few people will have seen them. There is an opportunity to opt out and the deadline is September 1, 2021.
The editorial leader of DAUK (Doctors’ Association UK) said in The Guardian: “NHS Digital has failed to publicise this adequately to patients and healthcare staff and it is felt that more time is needed to explain to patients exactly how their data will be used and what implications or benefits it may have for individuals.”
The discussion, now it is more in the open, is around the possible biggest data grab in health service history and which could be misused, however much government promises to put regulations in place. Once the pandemic has eased, most people have been vaccinated and we get back to some sort of ‘normal’, the decision will have been taken and GP’s, and hospitals will have no power to combat any demands for the patient’s data.
The Guardian said: “It should ring alarm bells that ministers propose extracting sensitive personal medical records without clear purpose, with no meaningful information governance measures to keep pace with these developments.”
Please don’t take anyone’s word for it, not mine nor the papers, but research the issue with your GP and NHS trust and then decide and make a choice. Just to add, if anyone decides to opt out (online) the confirmation has to be passed to the relevant GP so that it is on record.
Image Credits: Nick Forman .