Saturday, March 13, 2010

NHS Database

This letter from James Strachan says all you need:

34 Belvoir Road
CB4 1JJ12th.

March 2010

Dear Sir,

I, and presumably everybody else in Cambridgeshire, have just received a notice from our Health Authority that our medical records will be loaded onto a Summary Care Record computer database run by the NHS.The accompanying leaflet describes the benefits in great detail. If you happen to be in John O' Groats, and happen to stub your toe, the local hospital will be able to access your medical records.The leaflet totally omits three very large disadvantages :-

* The Summary Care Record is only the start. It is planned that all your medical details, however private, will be loaded into this database. The computer project will spy on all medical transactions within Great Britain;

* It is futile to imagine that this database will be secure. Details are bound to leak, as they have from all major Government computer projects;

* I have no plan to vist John O' Groats.
In very small print, the leaflet explains that you can opt out of this scheme. You can download a form from here if you have access to the Internet.

I would recommend all readers to opt out. The benefits are illusionary and the loss of privacy is real. My GP is of the same opinion and has already opted out herself. This is yet another way in which this Labour Government regards us as sheep to be shorn and not as people. We need change.

Yours sincerely,
James Strachan


  1. I would also point out (although I haven't called the helpline yet) that you only see the statement that there are dangers in this database if you access the online document about opting out. It's not in the original leaflet.

    My older daughter's diabetic and, like many teenagers, her blood-sugars can become very unstable very quickly. So the database might be a good idea for her, as she's started visiting family members on her own; but the one-size-fits-all approach is very socialist and very wrong.

  2. Am I missing something? This particular idea (the summary care record) may have value to people (including myself as it happens) with serious medical conditions, especially if we leave our local area. If I opt out now, how long will it take me to opt back in if I suddenly decide to visit John O'Groats? I agree that wearing dog tags would probably be better and more reliable, but do I realistically have that option?

  3. Yes, you are missing the point. The alternatives include the off-the-shelf ‘google-style’ database or the French/German/Austrian electronic smart cards for those in need. Neither requires the ‘solution’ of an all-embracing database running five years late, more than £10 billion over budget (£2.3 billion to £12.7 billion and rising), and is about as ‘secure’ as any other government IT project.