Yet again we see the surveillance state attempt to rape our private information for profit.
Privacy campaigners and medical groups have warned the confidentiality of NHS patients could be in jeopardy as GPs are forced to hand over patient records to a central database.
The British Medical Association and privacy campaign group Big Brother Watch have slammed the move, and an NHS commissioning board report has even suggested that patient details could be given to third parties, where “permitted by the Data Protection Act.”
Patients are unable to ‘opt-out’ of the database, that will include all medical diagnosis, dates of birth and postcodes.
The data will also include family health history, weight, body mass index, cholesterol levels, alcohol consumption and smoking status.
A spokesman for the British Medical Association said:
Sharing patient data to help inform commissioning decisions is an important process that can help to improve NHS services, but it must only be done with strict safeguards in place.
Patients must be given the option to opt out of any scheme that seeks to transfer identifiable information about them from their records to another source.
This opt-out should be widely advertised and explained in order that patients are reassured and understand the process being carried out.
According to The Guardian, Nick Pickles, director of Big Brother Watch said:
We may be witnessing the beginning of the end for patient privacy in the NHS. Forget putting patients in charge of their medical records, this new giant database will put NHS managers in charge of our most confidential information. Not only have the public not been told what is going on, none of us have been asked to give our permission for this to happen.
Mr Pickles also writes:
Forget putting patients in charge of their medical records, this new giant database will put NHS managers in charge of our most confidential information.
“It is unbelievable how little the public are being told about what is going on, while GPs are being strong-armed into handing over details about their patients and told to not make a fuss.
To claim a database that includes your NHS number, date of birth and postcode is anonymous is simply not true. The risks of re-identification on a mass scale are very real and do not seem to have been taken into account at all.
Not only have the public not being told what is going on, none of us have been asked to give our permission for this to happen. That we’ll have no right to opt-out is plain wrong and the scheme should be abandoned before it turns into a privacy disaster on an unprecedented scale.
The NHS has a terrible record in keeping information confidential and there is a huge risk that patients will start to withhold information from their GPs because they do not believe it will stay private. That could have catastrophic results for care.
According to The Daily Mail, Ross Anderson, professor of security engineering at Cambridge University, said:
Under these proposals, medical confidentiality is, in effect, dead and there is currently nobody standing in the way.’ Nick Pickles, of the privacy group Big Brother Watch, said NHS managers would now be in charge of our most confidential information.
It is unbelievable how little the public is being told about what is going on, while GPs are being strong-armed into handing over details about their patients and to not make a fuss.
Not only have the public not been told what is going on, none of us has been asked to give our permission for this to happen.