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Harvesting Of Your NHS Patient Personal Data For Sale Begins In Two Weeks!

As previously reported by this website, all NHS patients records in England are being harvested by the Government and placed within the remit of an organisation whose sole task is to make that information, in various forms, available for sale to third parties.

This fact has finally been picked up by the newspaper media this month, although TV news media still ignores it.

In the meantime, GP magazine Pulse reported on 7th February 2014 that NHS patient’s medical records data harvesting by the Government will start in the Spring.

Worse still: “Patients who have opted out of the scheme will still have their records sent to the HSCIC [Health and Social Care Information Centre] stripped of identifiers.”

This confirms something buried on page 9 of NHS England’s recently-published Privacy Impact Assessment which states:

‘Where patients have objected to the flow of their personal confidential data from the general practice record, the HSCIC [Health and Social Care Information Centre] will receive clinical data without any identifiers attached (i.e. anonymised data).’

So basically, the intention is to still extract information from the medical records of NHS patients who had opted out, just not with their NHS number, postcode, date of birth and gender attached.

This is not what any reasonable person would understand by opt out – if you opt out, no information from your medical record should leave your GP practice. The codes applied to patient’s medical records are the only mechanism by which information can be blocked from extraction.

But, and here is the issue; the Government’s recent leaflet sent to all households in England does not make this clear, nor does the associated website.

AS mentioned above, in January 2014, NHS England sent out a leaflet entitled Better information means better care (2MB PDF) via junk mail. It was not addressed directly to you as a patient and it deliberately didn’t include an opt-out form.

The leaflet was totally and intentionally misleading!

The leaflet says you should “speak to your GP practice” if you want to opt out.

This is not only misleading and unnecessary and could waste your time and potentially waste valuable GP appointments.

There is no need to visit your GP. In fact, all you need do is write a letter or fill in a simple form (link below) instructing your doctor to opt you out, which you can fill in and post or drop into your surgery reception for their attention.

It is important for all NHS patients to understand:

Opting out will not affect the care you receive and you can change your mind at any point and opt back in if you like. Opting out will not prevent your GP from being paid for care provided – information needed for those payments should only leave the practice in summary (i.e. anonymous) form.

This information comes from a Patients organisation, Med Confidential, which was set up in January 2013 soon after the fact was known that the Government intended to allow NHS patients private medical records to be harvested and then made available to countless bodies, for a mere £1 per record!

Their campaign is simple: to make NHS England and the HSCIC make the codes work the way they should and do what millions of us have been told they would do.

Indeed, they urge NHS patients in England:

“Please do take a few moments to e-mail this [opt-out form] PDF to your family, friends and colleagues, or send them the link to this page – – or share it on social media.

You might even print off copies of the form (it conveniently prints double-sided and folds to fit in a DL envelope) to give to others who may not have heard about what’s going to happen to their medical records, and won’t know what they can do.”

The opt-out form was written by Dr Neil Bhatia, a Hampshire GP in the form of a leaflet with a tear-off form that you can use for yourself, your children and anyone for whom you hold enduring power of attorney.

Dr Bhatia also provides more information on the scheme on his website:

As well as opting out, you may want to write to your MP about this.

You might also want to watch this short film,Keep My Secrets

ACT NOW! If you do not want confidential, identifiable information from your medical records to be uploaded and passed on for purposes other than your medical care you can opt out by telling your doctor. You don’t have to book an appointment to do this, you can simply send a letter.

As an alternative to the form above, med Confidential provide a letter in Microsoft Word (.doc) format, editable Rich Text (.rtf) format and as an Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) PDF for you to fill in and send to your doctor.

You can use it to opt out your children or adults for whom you are legally responsible as well.

You can download them from this website here: Opt Out Letter PDF format Opt Out Letter Word format

Source: medConfidential / Unionsafety / NHS

See also: Liberty Object To NHS Medical Records Havesting And Sell-Off

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