Monday, 20 January 2014
This post concerns the English NHS but, as many readers live in England, it’s important they know what’s happening to their medical data.
What is happening is that it’s being sold to organisations such as university research departments, insurers and drug companies which will be able to apply to the new Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) to gain access to the database, called care.data.
If an application is approved then firms will have to pay to extract this information, which will be scrubbed of some personal identifiers (seriously?), but but enough to make the information completely anonymous - a process known as pseudonymisation.
Starting in March, medical data covering the entire population of England, will be uploaded to the repository controlled by the new arms-length NHS information centre.
A leaflet is being sent to every household explaining the new database, with the patient being given an ‘opt out’ choice, but how many people will not realise the importance of this further intrusion into their personal lives? Of course, if an ‘opt in’ rather than an ‘opt out’ option had been offered, then the population may have scrutinised the leaflet more thoroughly and decided against it.
This is all part of the agenda of government and big business and the on-going privatisation of the English NHS.
Recently the FT reported that the EU/USA trade deal has been ratified. (Apologies no link but it’s behind a paywall). It appears David Cameron has been pushing hard for this as it opens up all public services to tendering from USA private health giants.
Did anyone watch the Dave: Loan Ranger programme on Channel 4 last week? Dave Fishwick was investigating pay day loan businesses and how his bank, Burnley Savings and Loans, could help reduce the scandalous interest rates charged. He trudged round some of the big lenders in an attempt to pay off the loans of some unfortunate people. What he found was that every address given on websites was solely a forwarding agency. Then he researched further and found the companies involved were all linked to global financial organisations; thus profits were going out of the UK. The series continues this week.
The link between the new English NHS database and Dave’s pay day loan series may seem tenuous to some, but once this database is up and running it will be obvious that the English NHS will become another huge earner for foreign investors.