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Response to Guardian story “Police and firms to access patients’ records”

NHS England’s National Director for Patients and Information, Tim Kelsey,  said: “We welcome the increase in public awareness and debate about NHS data usage following the nationwide distribution of the leaflet ‘Better Information Means Better Care’, but it’s vital this debate is based on facts.

“There are no ‘backdoors’ to this information.  There is absolutely no change to how police can access individual GP records as a result of the programme to upgrade how NHS data is collected. For cases about an individual, police would still go to the hospital or GP practice rather than the HSCIC and that organisation would act in accordance with the requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998 (requests made using the s29 exemption for ‘Crime and Taxation’) and the Department of Health NHS Confidentiality Code of Practice.”

For a detailed explanation of how the NHS uses patient data, please take a look at NHS England’s Chief Data Officer Dr Geraint Lewis’ blog here.

Further information and answers to frequently asked questions about this important programme is available here.

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3 comments

  1. lesley says:

    First I heard of this was on facebook. No leaflet delivered to my house. The cynic in me thinks that is a deliberate ploy. I’m opting out. I’m disgusted that so few people seem to know about this. It has far reaching implications for us all as individuals and should have been an opt in rather than an opt out scheme. My medical data is mine. Not the governments to sell.

  2. James says:

    This would not be an issue in a public owned health system. The issue is that the Tories are privatizing the NHS regardless of how they may put spin on it, and this is where the data would absolutely not be safe. Private companies are interested in one thing as their primary goal, money. Just as the private banks have left the public in a financially destitute state, the privately run “NHS firms” will leave the people in a state of health destitution to maximize profit. Unsure how this could be done? Take a look at the pharmaceutical companies that have priced life saving drugs at profit maximizing levels so as not to kill off too many of their cash cows.

  3. Ken Arthur says:

    I agree Facts are very Important Mr Kelsey.

    Fact 1: Everyone is opted in by Default.
    Fact 2: Even if you opt out your Data still gets uploaded.
    Fact 3: The advertising Campaign has been a fiasco.
    Fact 4: The more people learn about this Scheme the less they want to participate.