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NHS data passed on 'against wishes'

Published 06/06/2015

Requests by up to 700,000 patients for details from their records not to passed on have not been met
Requests by up to 700,000 patients for details from their records not to passed on have not been met

The organisation responsible for releasing NHS patient data to organisations including insurance companies has admitted information about patients has been shared against their wishes, it has emerged.

Requests by up to 700,000 patients for details from their records not to be passed on, registered during preparations for the creation of a giant medical database, have not been met.

But the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) told MPs it "does not currently have the resources or processes to handle such a significant level of objections" and it also had technical issues over logging the preferences.

Patients registered their objections during the development of the controversial care data system but the plans were shelved in March 2014.

HSCIC's admission was made in a letter to the Commons health select committee in February from HSCIC chair Kingsley Manning, who admitted it "may t ake some time" to resolve the issue.

Dr Beth McCarron-Nash, who leads on care data for the General Practitioners Committee (GPC), told health sector journal Pulse: "Obviously, if there are technical difficulties that HSCIC are experiencing, they must be resolved, and it is their responsibility to make sure patients are protected. But basically it's a mess."

Phil Booth, director of data rights advocacy group medConfidential told the Pulse: "The material fact is, hundreds of thousands of people, last January, February, March, exercised their right to opt out of having their data passed on by the HSCIC, and that has not been respected."

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