Feeds

GPs blow whistle to watchdog on patient record privacy threat

Docs fear they'll break data protection laws

SANS - Survey on application security programs

The UK's data protection watchdog has highlighted concerns it has with a new information-sharing initiative that has begun operating in the health sector in England.

Earlier this week a new Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) was established with the power to require health bodies to hand over "any information" that it deems "necessary or expedient" in order to fulfil its functions. HSCIC is tasked with gathering and publishing data in order to improve the quality of information available across the health sector.

However, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has said that doctors had contacted them to express their concern about whether patients were being kept sufficiently informed as to how their data could be passed on to HSCIC. The ICO said that it has "reservations about the sharing of data between health bodies".

"Several GPs have also recently contacted our office concerned that they are being asked to supply information to the Health and Social Care Information Centre, via third party contractors," Dawn Monaghan, the ICO's strategic liaison manager in the watchdog's public services group, said in a blog. "They have concerns that patients are not being told that their information will be shared in this way and that they will be in breach of the Data Protection Act by sharing their data."

"A data controller has a legal obligation to ensure that it is complying with the Data Protection Act when sharing personal information," she added. "However, from the start of this week the Health and Social Care Information Centre has the power under s259 of the Health and Social Care Act ‘to require and request provision of information’.

"We are now working closely with the Health and Social Care Information Centre and others to determine whether this power relieves a data controller from their obligations under the Data Protection Act."

"Either way, the information must be sought from the data controller and not from a third party data processor, which does not have the right to provide the information without instruction from the controller," Monaghan said.

The Government has previously outlined plans to enable health and care service providers and private sector life scientists to access anonymised medical data relating to individuals who consent to the sharing of their records.

In January, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt expressed his vision for a "paperless" NHS by 2018 where patients would each have a digital medical record that public health providers could access "when necessary" and where individuals' "permission" had been granted. However, privacy campaigners expressed data privacy and security concerns.

Copyright © 2013, Out-Law.com

Out-Law.com is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
Jack the RIPA: Blighty cops ignore law, retain innocents' comms data
Prime minister: Nothing to see here, go about your business
Banks slap Olympus with £160 MEEELLION lawsuit
Scandal hit camera maker just can't shake off its past
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.