NHS sparks criticism over plans to sell patient data

Published on by Saffron Alexander (author)

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This is the first time the entire medical history of the nation will be made available via one single database.

The move has been marked as controversial over concerns that it will destroy patient confidentiality.

Included in the information made readily available will be: NHS number, date of birth, postcode, ethnicity and gender.

Detractors argue that all this information can easily be cross-referenced to identify a person.

An online petition has started with the creator of the petition, Thomas L saying: “This could lead to a future where patients are sold insurance based on a number in a database, with the patient never knowing why the insurance cannot be sold to them, or why it is being sold at a higher premium…we do not want a future where someone pays a higher rate for a mortgage due to their mother dying of cancer.”

Talking to The Guardian, a spokesperson for the NHS said: “A phased rollout of care.data is being readied over a three month period with first extractions from March allowing time for the HSCIC to assess the quality of the data and the linkage before we make the data available. We think it would be wrong to exclude private companies simply on ideological ground; instead, the test should be how the company wants to use the data to improve NHS care.” 

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