GP Practices have been instructed by the Government to upload patients’ entire medical histories to the new data-sharing programme, NHS digital. From NHS digital the Government plans on selling your entire medical record to third parties for profit.
This means that all your GP interactions from the moment you were born are at risk of being sold to corporations. Your GP data includes details of your mental, physical, and sexual health, drug and alcohol history, any family and work-related problems you have disclosed to your GP in confidence. This may include information so sensitive that patients have only ever disclosed it to their doctor believing it to be confidential such as information about domestic abuse and/or child abuse.
Concerningly, your personal data will not be fully anonymous which means it will be relatively easy for a potential buyer to identify the information as yours.
The relationship patients have with their doctors should be one which is based on trust. Yet the Government wants to breach that trust by selling your entire confidential medical records.
Your consent for this unwarranted data grab is assumed.
You can see what NHS digital is charging people for copies of NHS data, potentially your data, here; Data Access Request Service (DARS) charges from 2020/2021 – NHS Digital
There are of course some legitimate buyers such as hospitals and universities conducting research, but there are also commercial companies, some of which are information intermediates, buying your data, who then go on to serve their own customers, whose details are not published. Do you want your most sensitive and intimate GP medical records sold to these anonymous customers of the commercial companies buying your data?
There has yet to be any form of public awareness campaign so many people will not even know that their medical records are due to be sold. Initially the Government gave GP practices just six weeks’ notice, leaving them little time to inform their patients about how to opt out by the 23rd June 2021 deadline.
The Government announced on the 19th July that the GP data upload in England will not start until four tests are met. However, the Government has not said that you will hear anything directly about its plans. The Government has not committed to directly informing everyone what it plans to do with your NHS data, nor how everyone can exercise their own choices.
Information on how to opt out can be found at www.medconfidential.org/how-to-opt-out/
If you live in England and want to stop your GP data from leaving your GP practice, you need to fill in a ‘Type 1’ form and give it or post it to your GP. The form can be found at medconfidential.org or here; Type_1_opt-out_letter.pdf (medconfidential.org).