NHS patients want privacy, not privatisation. We call on Sajid Javid to:
- drop the 1 September deadline for patients to opt out
- drop plans to share our data with private companies for profit
- pause the rest of the plan and hold a proper consultation
The government is trying to slip through a massive change to how NHS patient data is handled. They want to take the patient records which our GPs hold on all of us, and enter them all into one, massive database. And they want to make this data available to “third parties” – including private companies.
This plan would mean incredibly sensitive data about all of us who use the NHS – including sexual health, mental health, criminal records – being pooled and shared.
This plan was announced quietly, via a single website, and set a deadline of 23 June for us to opt out of our records being included. We created a coalition of five organisations (Just Treatment, Doctors’ Association UK, the Citizens, openDemocracy and the National Pensioners Convention) and David Davis MP and threatened legal action over the GP Data Grab. Our threat of injunction forced the government to pause the collection of 55m people’s health data for two months and they’ve now given the public a new opt out date of 1 September.
Health data could be used for the good of the NHS. But any changes to how our health data is handled must be done in a transparent, trustworthy, legal way. The scheme is being rushed through by stealth. Patients have been denied a meaningful say in what happens with their data. No safeguards have been included to prevent private companies using our data for their own profit.
The government has tried to do this once before, in 2014. Back then, a huge public outcry forced them to abandon their “care.data” scheme. Let’s not let them get away with it this time either!
If you’d like to opt-out you can find more information about how to do so here, via medConfidential: