On today’s episode of “how quick can the UK spiral in to totalitarianism?”, your medical records are being prepared for sale. Advised by Matt Hancock, NHS Digital has recently announced that a patients GP medical records may be shared from July the 1st. The following data will be made available about any patient who does not opt out by June the 23rd:
This move is frankly terrifying. Our private records will be extracted and shared without our consent, and the government has seemingly ensured we don’t find out about it. The BBC has failed to report on the matter several days after the announcement was made and patients have not received any sort of information from their GP, the NHS, or the government.
The CEO of NHS Digital, Sarah Wilkinson, cited the pandemic as the reason behind the new policy. She said: “The power and utility of health data was clearly demonstrated during the pandemic.”
While this explains some of the new sharing of data, it does not excuse the sly nature of the change nor does it explain why it is not just the NHS or the department of health who will have access.
Who can access my data?
According to NHS Digital, the list of organisations who may access your data includes but is not limited to:
- The Department of Health and Social Care and its executive agencies, including Public Health England and other government departments
- NHS England and NHS Improvement.
- Primary care networks (PCNs), clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and integrated care organisations (ICOs)
- Local authorities.
- Research organisations, including universities, charities, clinical research organisations that run clinical trials and pharmaceutical companies.
Most worrying here is: “includes but is not limited to”. This small phrase changes the game. It means that although the listed recipients seem innocent, there are a range of other people who can access your private information.
How can I opt out?
Although the government has endeavoured to make it as difficult as possible for you to opt out, it is possible. The following steps should make it a little simpler for you to take back control.
The first step is to fill in this form. You must get the completed form to your GP by the 23rd of June 2021. This prevents your GP data from being “disseminated”. You can also include children and other dependents on the same form.
The second step prevents your non-GP medical data from being taken. If you are opting out for just yourself, fill in this online form. If you are opting out for yourself and your children (under 13) you must fill in this form and email/post it to NHS Digital.