Monday, 1 March 2010

Opt out of 'Summary Care Record' NOW

I'm passing on some important information from NO2ID (I personally opted out from having my medical records uploaded onto a centralised database some time ago):

The Department of Health is currently sending mailshots to people London and 4 other strategic health authorities, informing them of 'changes to your health records'. These changes are presented as necessary and inevitable but they are not. They shift control of health information from medical professionals to the state and will result in YOUR private details being uploaded onto a centralised system accessible to hundreds of thousands of people - not just doctors.

The changes are presented as being for your own good but they undermine the fundamental basis of the patient-doctor relationship - medical confidentiality - that is absolutely essential if people are to disclose things about themselves for their own treatment and well-being, and for the wider public health.

Doctors oppose this. Professional bodies oppose it; the BMA believes everyone should be asked for their explicit consent before anything is uploaded ('opt in'). Unfortunately, you are only being given a limited right to opt out and the Department is making that as difficult as it can - for example, it fails to include a copy of the opt out form with the letter!

If you do nothing or fail to respond within the deadline, the government simply presumes your consent. Your personal details and some sensitive
medical information, including your last six months' prescriptions, will be uploaded onto a 'Summary Care Record' (SCR). Once your SCR has been accessed, it will never be deleted from the system. And over time, more and more of your health records will be added to it. As the Prime Minister has already discovered on the Scottish version of the system, the so-called 'protections' bolted on are ineffective - his and others' medical records have already been compromised.

Over two years' independent research shows little evidence of the claimed benefits. But the government is spending millions of pounds bribing Health Authorities to send out these letters before the general election. Maybe because the opposition parties have both said they'll scrap SCR, and build something more localised and patient-focussed instead...


You can ask your GP to put a 'stop order' on your record using the opt out letter produced by (TBOO):

If you haven't received the NHS mailshot yet, this will ensure that your record is marked 'patient refused consent for upload'.

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