UK Liberty


Posted in accountability, database state, nhs records, state-citizen relationship by ukliberty on October 20, 2008

Tony Collins of Computer Weekly has discovered some council staff have been given live NHS data for training purposes:

There has been some interest in an article on this IT Projects blog about Elizabeth Dove who went to her GP about suspected depression and found her medical records being shared with a local council in the Isle of Wight.

It transpires that it’s routine for GPs to refer patients to primary care trusts that share some online health records with local councils. It’s done in the interest of patients. But Dove hadn’t expected her health records to be looked at by council staff. …

Now a former employee at Isle of Wight Social Services has contacted the IT Projects blog to say that she trained on the Swift system in question – which links the council and primary care trust – and was offered the use of live data.

No thought seems to be spared for ordinary members of the public, does it?

The data is not regarded as our data but the government’s.  The data is shared routinely and I don’t think it’s not so much a case of “so what if someone else sees it” as a case of them not thinking even that far – it is because it is of no personal value to them that they spare no thought about it.

Of course, when it does affect them personally they are all for increased protection: shielding on  (or should that be ‘from’?) ContactPoint, for example.

Tony also wrote,

Often it’s only when things go wrong that we learn what decisions have been taken. That’s one reason Computer Weekly and the IT Projects blog campaign for more openness and honesty in the NHS and government – and local government – decision-making.

After years of campaigning for more transparency in the public have we made a real difference? Absolutely not.

I think he is doing himself a disservice.  This sort of thing requires political change, (well, it’s that or rope and lampposts) and I think political change only comes about when sufficient awareness has been raised. I believe Tony and his colleagues make a real difference to awareness.


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