Forum

GP Extraction Service

A project, the new ‘General Practice Extraction Service’ and

championed by Health Minister, Jeremy Hunt, will consolidate

NHS patient records and send them to a central database. Your

GPs will be complicit in this drive by the NHS England which will

start this September.

Described by campaigners as an “unprecedented threat” to medical

confidentiality but as interestingly, your doctor does not have to inform

you that your records are being passed on.

The records will include details of your medical conditions, such as

“Are you a Smoker and for how long or did you smoke”, “Alcohol Intake”,

any know “Food Intake Indicators”, Sexually Transmitted Diseases,

Cancer, and you, the patient, would be identifiable as the records would

include your NHS number, postcode, date of birth, gender and ethnicity.

Once in the data base these records would be available to any company or

organisation that has registered for access for the princely sum of £1:00.

These companies could be Private Medical Insurance, such as BUPA but could

also be Household and Personal Insurance Companies, Loans Companies, Mortgage

Lenders the list could be extensive and available to these people by applying to the

Health Service.

Using simple algorithms to search using a computer, the data, cross referenced

with publicly available records, say the electoral register, would allow malicious

searches to identify a patient’s medical records.

So far 55 organisations have been accredited to apply for identifiable or

sensitive data. Most of these are NHS bodies, but BUPA, the Institute for

Fiscal Studies and hospital comparison firm ‘Dr Foster’ have also acquired

accreditation.

Perhaps you may want to let your GP know you are not happy about letting your,

what you thought were confidential medical records, into the wild.

Just for your information I asked my GP for a copy of my medical records and

was told that I could have them after paying £75:00.

Could be worth a letter to your Doctor.

If you just want to see your records, and don’t need a copy to keep, there is absolutely no need to pay the £75 (which sounds rather steep anyway - I thought there was a maximum they were allowed to charge, and that it couldn’t exceed the ACTUAL costs of photocopying and administration - although I suppose that would depend on how extensive your records are). I viewed mine on the premises, for free. They even gave me a cup of coffee, and use of a small office to do it. They were quite dull and boring. It took me a couple of hours to work through the lot. I was only looking in case there was anything I disputed, and wanted corrected - or at least a note added to say I contested it. Also to check whether there was anything that would be likely to be construed by insurers as indicative of possible MS. If there had been (there wasn’t) I would still have had to disclose it to the insurers anyway, but it would have been useful to know whether, and on what grounds they were likely to contest my claim (could have some answers ready!) In my opinion, privacy of medical records is largely illusory anyway, because as soon as anything serious happens (e.g. MS) you end up having to disclose to various people and bodies. True, I could have chosen to keep my diagnosis private, but then I wouldn’t have been able to make a critical illness claim, or get the protection of the law at work, so although disclosure was technically “voluntary”, I stood to lose out in significant ways, if I didn’t go along with it. It’s not always even voluntary. I’m a not driver, but if I had been, I’d have had to disclose to the DVLA, by law. So really, I don’t rate privacy that highly, if it only applies as long as you don’t get anything serious - but then all sorts of people want/need to know. The genie’s already out of the bottle, as far as anyone knowing I’ve got MS is concerned. Insurers knew, work knew. If I was claiming benefits, DWP would know, Atos would know… I’m sure there are others I haven’t thought of. Tina

1 - This is not new. I was notified, and given the chance to opt out, several months ago on a government created form.

2 - It is free to view your records for a period of up to 42 days after you have been see by a consultant or GP.

3 - For computerised records you can ask for them to be put onto a memory stick - but you may not have the software to view them. You could also come under the scope of the information Commissioner (Data Protection Act), because you are now holding confidential data.

4 - If you really want to know your rights, download the three parts of the NHS Constitution - and read them.

And finally, you can take out a lot of the double-spacing from cut and pasted stories by using the “Shift+Return” and "Shift+Backspace keys. It makes them much easier to read. Alternatively. past them into Word and edit them before re-pasting.

Geoff