Big Brother’s grab for the secrets in your health record

By  Daily Mail Comment

This week, the Mail has highlighted how growing numbers of GPs are rebelling against plans to harvest millions of patients’ records and put them on a giant Health Service database.

There are many convincing reasons why so many family doctors are opposed to this Big Brother initiative, chief among them the underhand tactics being deployed by the NHS commissars.

The right approach would have been to invite people to opt in if they were content for their most sensitive personal details to be used to assist research work.

Harvesting your details: There are legitimate concerns over plans to store medical records centrally

Harvesting your details: There are legitimate concerns over plans to store medical records centrally


Instead, the onus has been unfairly put on patients to opt out. Unsurprisingly, it is feared many will simply miss or ignore the scant ‘flyer’ that is currently dropping on doormats and be signed up by default.

Then there are the doctors’ huge concerns over what will actually happen to this  most private data, which could include details of embarrassing past conditions  or treatments.

For instance, how can we possibly trust the Government to keep the information safe, when it has already lost huge amounts of our personal data, including an HMRC disc containing details of 25million child benefit recipients?

The NHS database – containing the health secrets of politicians, celebrities and business leaders – will surely become a target for malign computer hackers. Nor can the threat of a State employee maliciously leaking a patient’s confidential medical history be ignored.

Meanwhile, what is there to stop a future government, struggling to fund the ever-increasing cost of the NHS, from selling this ‘honeypot’ of information to medical insurers and others?

In light of these entirely legitimate fears, the case for switching to an opt-in system is overwhelming.

Instead, the NHS is hounding doctors who refuse to co-operate and threatening them with potential ‘breach of contract notices’.

What a shameful, Stalinist way to treat GPs who – unlike the faceless managers who invented this project – understand that patient-doctor confidentiality is the cornerstone of medicine.

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