Feeds

UK health records should not be flogged off

Health watchdog barks

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Harry Cayton was only appointed head of the health service data watchdog on 6 November, but he has wasted no time in putting the boot into how the NHS wants to treat patient data.

Cayton, the man who won UK citizens the right to opt out of having a centrally stored medical record, is unhappy with proposals which would allow medical researchers to trawl databases looking for people with certain medical conditions. They would then be allowed to write to these patients asking if, given their condition, they would like to take part in trials of new drugs or treatments.

This was spun as one of the joys of introducing electronic patient records for everyone. In effect UK researchers would have a big advantage over rival nations - they'd get access to a whole country's medical records.

Currently researchers have to ask GPs to identify patients with a condition they wish to study. The doctor then writes to patients asking if they are interested in taking part in a trial.

Cayton said the proposals to change this were "ethically unacceptable". He told the Guardian: "It would be saying there is a public interest in research that is so great that it overrides consent and confidentiality. That is not a proposition that holds up."

Instead of direct access Cayton suggests a system which would allow browsing of anonymised files for conditions. This could then create letters to be sent to patients without researchers getting full access to identifiable information.

Cayton, chair of the Patient Information Advisory Group, has written to health minister Alan Johnson outlining his concerns. ®

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
True fact: 1 in 4 Brits are now TERRORISTS
YouGov poll reveals terrible truth about the enemy within
Hello, police, El Reg here. Are we a bunch of terrorists now?
Do Brits risk arrest for watching beheading video nasty? We asked the fuzz
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco
'Reset rating keeps secrets on one-dole-to-rule-them-all plan', say MPs
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
NBN Co claims 96 mbps download speeds for FTTN trial
Umina trial also delivers 30 mbps uploads, but exact rig used not revealed
Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?
Local UK gov outs most ridiculous FoI requests...
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?