Don't share our health data for profit
Update: We created a coalition of five organisations (Just Treatment, Doctors’ Association UK, the Citizens, openDemocracy and the National Pensioners Convention) and David Davis MP and threatened legal action over the GP Data Grab. Our threat of injunction forced the British government to pause the collection of 55m people’s health data for two months and they’ve now given the public a new opt-out date of 25 August.
Further update: The government has now dropped the 25 August deadline and said that the upload will be paused to enable safeguards to be put in place around the security of the research environment and the opt out - but many questions remain about how robust these safeguards will be.
NHS patients want privacy, not privatisation. We call on the English health secretary to:
- drop the 23 June deadline for patients to opt out Update: the government has now pushed this back
- drop plans to share our data with private companies for profit
- pause the rest of the plan and hold a proper consultation
The English health secretary is trying to slip through a massive change to how NHS patient data is handled. He wants to take the patient records which GPs hold on everyone in England, and enter them all into one massive database. And he wants to make this data available to "third parties" – including private companies.
The plan would mean incredibly sensitive data about all of us who use the NHS – including sexual health, mental health, criminal records – being pooled and shared.
It was announced quietly, via a single website, and set a deadline of 23 June for us to opt out of our records being included. That’s why urgent action is needed right now. openDemocracy and other campaigners are taking the fight to the government and we need your help.
Health data could be used for the good of the NHS. But any changes to how our health data is handled must be done in a transparent, trustworthy, legal way. The scheme is being rushed through by stealth. Patients have been denied a meaningful say in what happens with their data. No safeguards have been included to prevent private companies using our data for their own profit.
The government has tried to do this once before, in 2014. Back then, a huge public outcry forced it to abandon its “care.data” scheme. Now, the second pause shows that our pressure is working again - but it's important to keep it up.
You can learn how to exercise your right to opt out of your GP practice data leaving your GP practice for purposes other than your direct care by visiting: https://medconfidential.org/how-to-opt-out/.