Time to kill the zombie health records
No2ID says stop SCRs now
When the country is being asked to get ready for cutbacks, the last thing you’d expect is for civil servants to be squandering millions of pounds of public money now - and racking up huge bills for the future - or perhaps you would.
That is the allegation made by Phil Booth, national coordinator of No2ID. He claims that in the weeks up to and since the election, NHS Connecting for Health has ignored a national agreement with GPs and Trusts to go slow on populating the Summary Care Record system, and has organised a nationwide blitz of 30 million mailshots, representing a spend of £7.5m in the last few months alone.
This, according to a spokeswoman for the Department of Health, is a massive calumny: there have been absolutely no changes announced to the SCR system and no changes made, either structurally or in terms of the rate of activity. Besides, 30 million mailings have absolutely not been sent out to patients - it was only 29.7 million.
Various bodies, including No2ID and Power2010, have been keeping an eye on what CfH is up to. The process involves an invitation to patients to have their records uploaded to the SCR system, with an opt-out for those who prefer not to be added to the shiny new NHS database.
According to Phil Booth, there is evidence of a number of surgeries uploading records in the last few weeks. Nine Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) are also in the process of doing so. The picture is patchy, as in some areas it is individual surgeries carrying out the upload, while in others whole PCTs are at it.
Activity on this front has been identified in places including Hastings and South-West Essex. The East Riding of Yorkshire PCT sent information packs out to patients the day before the general election.
Booth slammed this activity as utterly unprincipled and motivated by self-interest. He said:
The fact that Connecting for Health sent out a massive mailshot, when it was known that both opposition parties had the scheme targeted at least for review, is wholly irresponsible.
This last desperate push appears to be motivated NOT by care for health for patients, but rather by civil service determined to protect their project.
No2ID are calling for an absolute halt and a full inquiry now.
A spokeswoman at CfH explained to us how the opt-out works. Patients have 12 weeks to do so: then their record will be uploaded to the system anyway. Thereafter, so long as the record has not been used, the patient can still request that it be deleted – but the moment it has been used by a clinician, it cannot be deleted.
So once an SCR has been loaded and used, it is there for all time. That means that the SCR upload represents a massive potential legacy system. It leaves future governments to pick up the tab.
Given the possibility that this project will be modified – or cancelled altogether - no responsible project manager would continue the upload without a renewed mandate from government to do so.
Yet, on the face of it, this is precisely what CfH is doing. We leave readers to draw their own conclusions. ®
Sounds like an episode of "yes, minister".
So sorry, Minister, but all the records have already been uploaded, and someone went through and "used" each one, we can't possibly delete them now. Should I go ahead authorising the budget for the next 10 years?
To which the only response SHOULD be: "No, you're fired. As is the rest of the staff. And the project is not only cancelled, but will be shredded into very fine little pieces. You can be on the street, or you can be one of the pieces."
opting out is facebook-like
I live with iatrogenic health problems , and such wish to have very little to do with the healthcare system. The letter from GP arrived some moths ago, informing me they intended to upload the records from our local surgery. My P.A. read the letter through to me. In order to opt out we had to go to the website of the NHS download a pdf , print it , fill it in and post it to the surgery. A system designed to either fail or hack off the individual so they give up.
As with all data , it has a value, it will make research very much easier for health department researchers and drug companies. ..but also if breached Insurance companies and sellers of snake oil, potions and stair lifts. The value to the individual is presented as any doctor can have access to your records and thus your treatment can be fast and without delays from locating your records.
The PNC criminal data base has been breached for profit , it is fair to assume this one will be too. The borderline for a data breach against you medical records is no longer the network at your gp surgery but the most compromised terminal in the NHS system.
I think the mindset is to collect the data what ever happens. The fast-flux transfer between political and civil service sides of the Dept. of Health and the serving Industry means the boundary between the needs of the indigenous UK pharmaceutical industry and the greater good of the individual user of NHS services has become blurred in the eyes of those over seeing this project.
Not only should this monumental data colander be abandoned , but A 5 year moratorium on any one with decision making powers involved in a ministry or department and them transferring to a provider industry. If civil servants and minsters want to strut about talking about their "services to the public" and wearing pretty little bows and "good boy" stars from Queen Betty then this is the price they should pay.
Why should they care?
The bureaucrats in charge of this project don't give a damn - that can be taken as a given, with no surprises. They look after their own little empires knowing full well that - unless the government suddenly develops real balls, which is unlikely - they're 100% fireproof. No-one is ever sacked, and if they were asked for their resignations tomorrow, they'd leave with a golden handshake and walk right into another old-boy sponsored sinecure job.
We aren't a priority with such people - they have their own agendas, which are nothing to do with the public or even for that matter very much to do with the government. I've worked for such people, and their contempt is absolute - you only have to listen to the chit chat as they socialise to have your eyes opened.