Huppert attacks government's medical database

March 11, 2010 10:45 AM
Julian Huppert

Julian Huppert

A government database making the medical records of millions of patients available to hundreds of thousands of staff has been attacked by Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidate, Julian Huppert.

He claims the move which has been criticised by the British Medical Association for being pushed through at "break neck speed", is another worrying example of the drive towards a database state.

Letters are being sent out to all residents 16 and over across the city asking them to allow their medical records to be included.

But Julian has urged residents to think extremely carefully about opting out of having their details included in the electronic database.

He said: "This database is being compiled in a rush and once a patient's details have been included, the process is irreversible.

"This is another move towards a database state where people's detailed information could be open to abuse. The government has an appalling record on keeping sensitive information safe and I have no reason to believe it will fare any better with medical records."

The British Medical Association said: "If the process continues to be rushed not only will the rights of patients be damaged but the limited confidence of the public and the medical profession in NHS IT will be further eroded."

Cambridge University Professor, Ross Anderson, who has been a leading figure in the fight against identity fraud, met with Julian to discuss the issue.

He has written to the Cabinet Secretary, Sir Gus O'Donnell, to ask whether it was appropriate to use taxpayers' funds to leaflet millions of homes on a politically sensitive topic during an election campaign. He hasn't yet received a reply.

"GP records will be uploaded to the database and summaries made available to several hundred thousand doctors, nurses, ambulance drivers, out-of-hours contractors, civil servants and researchers," he said. "Once created the Summary Care Record can't be deleted."

"The leaflets sent to homes in Cambridge are misleading. They say that 'anyone who has access to your records … must be directly involved in caring for you'.

"But this is not true. The department's own documents show that large numbers of administrators will also have access to your data on this new system."

What would you like to do next?