Be Afraid !!
When the Health and Social Care Act was passed in 2012 it seemed a very innocuous document – included in it was the provision for the Government to collect personalised medical information from all GP Practices and to combine the data to provide a large database which would be very useful for the planning and organisation of health care.
Now – two months before the implementation of the Act we discover the Devil in the detail
Every household in the country Has received a very bland informational flyer from the National Health Service explaining what is to happen ( or kind of explaining what is to happen)!
If you read the flyer which has gone to every house it all seems very reasonable.
There are however a couple of disquieting points!
From March 2014 all the personalised medical information held both by your general practitioner and by any hospital to which you have been referred is at risk.
Starting in March, the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC). will commence harvesting identifiable personalised medical information from all general practitioners in England.
This will be done without your consent and will take place unless you formally object to it occurring.
The information will be held and processed by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).
There are substantial concerns about the privacy and confidentiality of any information transferred to HSCIC, not least because NHS England has been given legal exemptions to pass identifiable data gathered by HSCIC between itself and a range of regional processing centres, local area teams and commissioning bodies that came into force on April 1 2013. I am also disturbed to note that HSCIC may provide access to patient data, some in identifiable form, to a range of ‘customers’ including private companies.
I do not believe that these widely distributed systems with so many potential users and such a wide range of uses, some as yet undefined, can be regarded as secure
The government have made it clear that some identifiable details will be removed from records before they are passed to third parties – but it will not require any very great effort to identify individual patients from what are now called pseudonymised or de-identified data; indeed HSCIC admits this is a risk.
So why am I concerned? Firstly the information will be held at by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).
They will undoubtedly make backup copies of the information ( just in case ) and so will the range of regional processing centres, local area teams and commissioning bodies that came into force on April 1 2013 – so lots and lots of backup copies !!!!
Within a short space of time all the identifiable personal medical information on individual patients will be scattered so widely that it will be impossible to control.
In addition the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) may sell to third parties – including pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies – and who knows who else your personal medical information – the information which will be pseudonymised or de-identified data will still contain some identifiable data,
Read the views of Dr Neil Bhatia, GP at care.data
and for balance
Ask any IT specialist for a copper bottom guarantee that your data is safe – you will not get one !!
MAKE UP YOUR OWN MIND
“ OH BRAVE NEW WORLD “
1984 ( +20 )
Arteman and the Boss have already opted out !!!
Opt Out Forms are available HERE ( Word or PDF )
Since this is a major government-sponsored IT project the probability of it finishing on time and under budget are vanishingly small – and the probability of it coming to fruition at all probably quite low.
However during its implementation the personalised medical information of a significant number of patients is likely to be wandering round the ether with possibly unsatisfactory control!
BE AFRAID, BE VERY AFRAID !!