Health Service Record Confidentiality
igb at batten.eu.org
Tue Feb 18 19:47:28 GMT 2014
Scheme halted for six months, following a critical (in every sense) intervention by the BMA and the RCGP,
along with various disability charities.
My gut feel would be that the revised programme, if it happens at all, will look very different,
as people who oppose the scheme will be emboldened and the second version will be subject
to much greater scrutiny.
This is a real turning point, because this is the first big NHS data project which has been stopped for
reasons entirely about public perception of privacy rights, rather than (vide Connecting for Health)
a mixture of contractual, technical and political issues. The NHS agreed to a mass leaflet drop
with somewhat bad grace, commissioned an inappropriate mechanism at minimum cost,
and it went wrong (*). A stack of issues about what happens in houses in multiple occupancy
also seem problematic. The re-run is going to have to be individually addressed to each person
on the demographic system, and I wonder if anyone’s going to want to fund the ~40m stamps.
(*) One point I’ve not seen made is that anyone who’s opted out of Royal Mail’s door-to-door
service, which is the delivery of unaddressed mail to an area without it being actually marked
for any individual, wouldn’t have got the information even had the drop otherwise gone perfectly.
Given such people are disproportionately likely to be people concerned about privacy, it’s hard
to see that ending well.
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