Feeds

Patients can boycott NHS system, says commissioner

Health dept does u-turn

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

The Information Commissioner has been told that patients will have the opportunity to refuse to have their details uploaded onto the new NHS medical records system. The news comes just weeks after the Department of Health refused patients that right.

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has issued a report on the NHS Connecting For Health system, the patient record system which has suffered cost over-runs, delays, and controversy over the right to opt-out.

OUT-LAW recently revealed that the Department of Health had refused a large number of requests from patients that their details not be uploaded, and that the British Medical Association has threatened to ask doctors to boycott the system. Such a boycott would likely cripple the £12bn project.

"NHS Connecting for Health has confirmed that people living in areas introducing Summary Care Records will be contacted before any of their medical records are uploaded on to the NHS Care Record Service," the ICO report said. "They will be given information about their options to limit the future scope of the information on the Summary Care Record or the option not to have one at all and they will also be given the opportunity to make arrangements to view their information before it is uploaded. They will have a specified period before their information is uploaded to consider their options."

A number of patients wrote to the Department of Health asking to opt out of the system. The Department of Health wrote back to them refusing their request in December. "The reasons that you gave as the basis for claiming substantial and unwarranted distress are not based on an accurate understanding of the summary care record," the department letter said.

Though records can be uploaded without the explicit consent of patients, the ICO said other options must be made available to patients. "Explicit consent is only one of the conditions for processing sensitive personal data," said the ICO. "NHS Connecting For Health are confident they are able to meet the requirements of one of the other conditions.

"Once the basic health information referred to above is uploaded on to the NHS Summary Care Record you will be able to choose to remove some or even all of the information initially uploaded [or] keep the uploaded information but make the Summary Care Record invisible."

The ICO says it has been consulted about the data protection implications of the new system and that it is happy with the current measures in place, but would continue to monitor the system.

"The commissioner has been consulted by NHS Connecting for Health about their plans for electronic care records and can see the potential benefits these may bring. However, the NHS must continue to comply with the Data Protection Act 1998 and this is vital to guarantee that public confidence is maintained. The commissioner will be monitoring the implementation and operation of the new NHS Care Records Service to ensure patients are provided with adequate information and choices and that their health data is maintained in a safe and secure way."

Copyright © 2007, OUT-LAW.com

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

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

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
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
In the next four weeks, 100 people will decide the future of the web
While America tucks into Thanksgiving turkey, the world will be taking over the net
Microsoft EU warns: If you have ties to the US, Feds can get your data
European corps can't afford to get complacent while American Big Biz battles Uncle Sam
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
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.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.