NHS opt-out – not so simple

Excellent piece from Ross Anderson in today’s Guardian, explaining more about the NHS ‘opt out’:

After polls showed that most doctors and patients oppose a compulsory national database of medical records, health minister Lord Warner produced a report on Monday and promised an opt-out. But don’t break out the champagne yet. The report was cleverly spun; hidden in an appendix is confirmation that you can opt out of the Summary Care Record, but not the Detailed Care Record.

The first is merely a synopsis for emergency care. It will have your current prescriptions, and will say, for example, whether you are diabetic. But ministers are not offering an easy opt-out from the second – the database replacing your current GP and hospital records. They plan to “upload” your GP data over the next year or two to a regional hosting centre run by a government contractor. The data will initially remain under your GP’s nominal control but, after hospital records have been uploaded too, the chief medical officer will be the custodian of the whole lot.

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