The government has recently unveiled plans to sell all of the private medical records and data about NHS patients to third party businesses and corporations.

Effectively, this means that later this year, companies will be able to buy information on us from the NHS’s new universal patient database – including everything from mental health conditions, sexually transmitted infections and diseases like cancer.

All of the information will include in-depth details about where you live, your gender, description, ethnicity and any other data that has ever been held or mentioned about you in a GP’s office or clinical setting.

This also includes details on whether a patient has been depressed, addicted to substances or had an embarrassing infection. It will also contain details of your eating habits, and whether you exercise/smoke regularly.

The information will be sold to insurance companies, pharmaceutical businesses, marketing firms and any other company prepared to pay for those details.

The government has automatically opted all patients into this database.
If you have ever used the NHS, you will have to opt out of the database, if you do not want those details sold onto third parties.

Over the last few weeks, people have received letters from the NHS outlining these plans.

The government claimed that the database will not contain any personally identifiable information.

However, critics of the law point out that under the current plans, we could easily be singled out through simple cross-referencing of other databases – especially if you have a rare or unusual condition.

Once uploaded, you will not be able to get this data deleted.

It has also recently been reported that police will have access to these records – regardless of whether a person chooses to opt out or not.

MP David Davis says police would be able to approach central NHS database without a warrant.

The database is set to be rolled out in May.

But opting out of data sharing outside the NHS will not prevent records being sucked up and state agencies in some cases will be able to get access to them.
In the case of the police, officers will be able to request all of the medical data held for specific suspects with their correct identities, regardless of whether they had opted out.
With a national database in place, the request only has to be considered by officials at the information centre, who will not know the patient personally.
Last year it emerged that the private health insurer Bupa was among four firms that had been cleared to access “sensitive” patient data.

The government have also failed to outline how they will prevent the well-documented leaks and data breaches occurring with this database.

The leaflets that were circulated also gave people the impression they would have to book an appointment with their GP in order to opt out.

This is not the case. Below, we have included a link to a form where patients can fill in a form online and send it to their GP.

An online petition has set up to oppose the government plans.

These plans to allow companies and insurance firms to access data comes just days after we highlighted proposals by the government to privatise the NHS – which will then force people to be at the mercy of insurance firms and drugs companies.

Opt out form: http://medconfidential.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/caredata_trifold.pdf

Petition: http://action.sumofus.org/a/nhs-patient-corporations/2/3/?sub=fb

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