Despite the history the NHS has over major blunders regarding legal use of information, it will continue selling patients’ medical data to insurance firms.
This data includes dates of birth, details of diagnosis, and postcodes of patients, however experts say proper measures are finally in use in order to prevent misuse of data.
In June, the news of the NHS selling highly personal data to insurance firms and other companies without using appropriate measures was received with outrage.
However, the chairman of the Health and Social Care Information Centre in charge of such records, announced yesterday that the NHS will continue the controversial practice.
Sir Nick Partridge defended the decision and said, ‘we must make sure there are no surprises for the pubic about how their information is being used, that they have a choice in this and that we are honest about the balance of risk.’
He continued, ‘Every single one of us has a part to play in making sure we get this right.’
The move will enrage campaigners, particularly as a report published today after an eight-month inquiry confirmed that tens of thousands of records were wrongly passed onto third parties.
A scandal earlier this year which consisted of officials confessing 1.3million patients’ data had effectively gone missing at least twice as no records of which businesses the data had been sent to was kept.
This led to changes being introduced to the Care Act in an attempt to make sure third parties can only get access to data if they prove it will be used to improve the nation’s health.
Sir Nick concluded that the public would ‘simply not tolerate vagueness about medical records that may be intensely private to them’, and that public health officials needed to earn the public’s trust by showing great care in the way their records are handled.