Feeds

Patients can't stop medical records upload

Privacy not a medical necessity in UK

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Up to 50 million health records will be placed on Britain's new NHS IT system with or without patients' consent, a report has claimed. The Guardian newspaper said that patients will not be allowed to object to information being loaded on to the system.

The newspaper also claims that the system could make medical information available to the police and security services more easily than before. That claim is rejected by the Department of Health. "The rules are well established and the new electronic record systems do not change this in any way," said the spokeswoman.

A Guardian report based on its investigation said that details of mental illnesses, abortions, pregnancy, HIV status, drug taking and alcoholism could be included in patient profiles, and that there was a lack of safeguards for data once it was on the system.

The new NHS system has been controversial because of its rising cost and slipping time scale. The report said that a virtual "sealed envelope" system was in place to protect sensitive information, but that the seal can be broken by medical professionals if "the interests of the general public are thought to be of greater importance than your confidentiality".

That contrasts with the current situation where police must get a limited amount of information from a GP who knows the patient or must obtain a court order for data.

The NHS spokeswoman said: "The NHS does not permit any external access to its patient records unless this is explicitly required by law. The police have no powers to require access to patients' NHS records. In the absence of a legal requirement, the NHS may, and indeed should, disclose patient information in relation to serious crimes or to protect the public from significant risk."

Patients will not be permitted to stop their information being put on the system, a move which is opposed by the British Medical Association. "We believe that the government should get the explicit permission of patients before transferring their information on to the central database," said a BMA spokeswoman.

Copyright © 2006, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
DOUBLE BONK: Testy fanbois catch Apple Pay picking pockets
Users wail as tapcash transactions are duplicated
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.