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Concern Over NHS 'Patient Data Grab'

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Concern Over NHS Patient Data Grab

The Team Leader of Dutton Gregory’s Clinical Negligence Department, Carol Maunder, is voicing her support for the growing number of medical professionals expressing concern over the intention for GPs to hand over confidential patient records to ‘NHS Digital’.

At the beginning of this month, GP Ameen Kamlana wrote a piece for The Guardian that exposed the request of GPs across the UK to send all their patient data to ‘NHS Digital’, where she believes there is the potential for it to be used for corporate profit.

With just six weeks’ notice, doctors have been asked to hand over entire medical histories and Kamlana explained why she was one of a growing number of GPs deciding to ‘pull the plug’ on the NHS’s new data-sharing programme by refusing to cooperate with a request they find deeply troubling.

‘The data grab is unwarranted, unparalleled in its scale and implications and quite possibly unlawful.’ Kamlana wrote in the national newspaper on 3rd June and asks why the public have not been aware of the request for their medical records?

As a result of campaigning, the original deadline of 23rd June has now been extended to 1st September in order to, according to Minister for Public Health Jo Churchill MP,  allow for ‘time to talk to patients, doctors, health charities, doctors, and others to strengthen the plan.’

Kamlana’s concerns are shared by Dutton Gregory’s Team Leader for their Clinical Negligence Department, Carol Maunder. ‘It seems incredible that NHS Digital will be able to share confidential patient records with third parties without the patient’s consent,’ she says. ’I certainly don’t think this should be allowed and applaud the stance taken by some GP’s in opposing this action’

The data GPs hold on patients include details of physical, mental and sexual health, medications, drug and alcohol history and anything that has been shared in confidence.

‘There is no doubt that this data is extremely valuable to help understand and plan for our health needs,’ says Carol. ‘However, there are organisations and centres that already exist within the NHS, so it is difficult to understand the need and purpose for this ‘data grab’ for a new enterprise.’

‘I would hate to think that what we have been through with the global pandemic is now being taken advantage of and I fear, if the government and NHS are not very careful, there will be severe legal repercussions on any direct or indirect misuse of data.’

To read the full article by Ameen Kamlana, visit www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/jun/03/gp-nhs-digital-data-patients-records-england?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other