‘Act now to stop your medical data going to third parties without your consent”

May 31, 2021

PRIVACY VIOLATIONS: “It’s been feebly publicized. The national panic has made it even less likely that you would have seen the scanty announcements of this scheme. It is not clear to me how identifiable this information might be. Yet you must opt out if you do not want this to happen. Most people, at the moment will just be opted in, without their knowledge or consent.” – Peter Hitchens on the Mail on Sunday on NHS Digital’s plans to share sensitive patient information with third parties without their informed consent

DATA BREACH: Having previously worked in NHS administration in patient medical records, the owner of this website does not understand why patients private medical data will go to educational and commerical parties in response to this pandemic when looking at someone’s medical records within the NHS without it being relating to the job is career-ending. Surely this is a breach of the Data Protection Act and the Human Rights Act.

 

 

 

 

THREE weeks is all the time left for people to stop having their medical records being passed over to unidentified third parties without their consent.

Veteran columnist and regular columnist on mainstream news channels Peter Hitchens blew the whistle on plans by NHS Digital to share sensitive information on mental and sexual data and other sensitive information would be “scraped” by 55 million patients registered with GP clinics and enable these to be accessed by “academic and commercial parties for planning and research purposes”.

‘Third parties to have access to records of 55M patients’

This is the phrase used by Sarah Marsh on The Guardian’s report on this issue of Saturday 30 March in addition to Mr Hitchen’s editorial of 28 May on The Daily Mail.

Plans to release data in this way were posted by Health Secretary Matt Hancock on his blog in April and fliers had been put up on GP surgeries information boards.

Why I have drawn attention to this on this platform? I previously worked in the NHS for two separate periods of employment in the departments that process patients’ medical records.

‘Why isn’t this a breach of data protection laws?’

Anyone reading this who works in medical record health administration right now knows perfectly well that to look up someone’s medical status without their consent is a sackable offence, let alone leaking this information to someone who could use this for clandestine reasons, such as an employer wanting to know a potential applicant’s vaccination status or other health condition without them knowing.

So if you are in the NHS reading this, why is this being allowed? If you think is is OK and can justify it, feel free to leave a comment under the article justifying the reasons and post anonymously if you wish – so long as it is factual, informative and courteous, it will be published.

It was noticed on the department’s website there is warnings about ‘misinformation being spread’ about the context of the data being shared. Really, so why publicly bury any reference to it as highlighted by Mr Hitchens so anyone who might have concerns can’t take any action? In behaving like this, the department clearly has something to hide.

‘This has been slipped in whilst there has been the Covid panic’

Mr Hitchens wrote: “If you don’t want your medical records ‘scraped’ and given to third parties, here’s what to do. You have only until 23 June.

“It’s been feebly publicized. The national panic has made it even less likely that you would have seen the scanty announcements of this scheme. It is not clear to me how identifiable this information might be.

‘Yet you must opt out if you do not want this to happen. Most people, at the moment will just be opted in, without their knowledge or consent. If you don not opt out by 23 June, all existing information about you will be ‘scraped’ permanently, You may be able to stop future information being used if you act later, but everything else will be already be scraped.”

‘If you don’t act, your data will never be deleted’

Digital rights group Foxglove have issued a letter to the Department of Health and Social Care questioning the legality of the plans under data protection legislation and are threatening further legal action.

Phil Booth of advocacy group MedConfidential told the Financial Times: “They’re trying to sneak it out, they are giving you six weeks nominally and if you do not acted on web pages on the NHS digital web site and some You Tube videos and a few tweets, your entire GP history could have been scraped, never to be deleted.”

  • TO give some context to why I have written this please view the video clip dramatisation about digital invasion of privacy made by James Graham and role played by actors Lydia West and Arthur Darvill and produced by Sonia Friedman Productions and the Luminate Group. It is only 12 minutes to view but I strongly recommend anyone reading this article to view it. A link to it can be found here.
  • TO opt out of having your information ‘scraped’ and having sensitive medical history given to third parties without your consent, follow the instructions here.

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