Matt Hancock: Don't share our health data for profit

Matt Hancock COVID briefing December 2020
Matt Hancock at a COVID press briefing in December, 2020. | Kirsty Wigglesworth/Pool via REUTERS

NHS patients want privacy, not privatisation. We call on Matt Hancock to:

  • drop the 23 June deadline for patients to opt out
  • drop plans to share our data with private companies for profit
  • pause the rest of the plan and hold a proper consultation

What's happening?

English health secretary Matt Hancock 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.

Matt Hancock’s 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.

Hancock announced this plan 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 them to abandon their “care.data” scheme. Let’s not let them get away with it this time either!

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/.

 

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