Medicalprivacy's Weblog

A blog about medical privacy, ethics and confidentality

More lax data security

It has been far too long since I updated this blog.

It has been reported that as many as 140,000 non medical staff are able to access patient medical records without consent.

The Mail Online (link at the bottom) story ran on the 26th March 2010. Part of it stated  “As many as 140,000 non-medical staff, including porters and housekeepers, have access to sensitive NHS patient files, it emerged last night”.

The mail also went on to say “Government guidelines say only staff involved in ‘providing and supporting patient care’ should have access to confidential information.

But trusts are interpreting the rules so widely that administrators, porters and IT staff are all cleared to potentially delve into a person’s medical file.”

This news comes as no surprise to those of us that have paid any attention to who has access to our information. The thing that gets me about this story is the hypocrisy. It might be the reporters lack of knowledge that just gives me that impression, but you would think they would have done some background searching first. What caused me to say such things? First of all it should come as no surprise that receptionist have access. As it can be seen from previous posting I have made, reception staff in medical practices often have access to the point that unless you are willing to let them know you are on medication for impotence or a termination, then you simply don’t get help.

The other thing that caused me to have the opinion is something I can understand the reporter not mentioning, after all very few people know about it as it is. It was reported some time ago that “The woman in the case did not have to show a wilful publishing or release of data, it said. A failure to keep it secure was enough to breach the Convention” In other words, simply telling staff not to access the data is not enough t comply with the Human Rights Act.

Mail Online:

Related articles:


Wednesday, 7, April, 2010 Posted by | access, betrayal, confidential, data security, health, NHS, patient rights | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Forced consent?

I meant to put this up ages ago, sorry for the delay.


It would seem that in order to get patients to ‘consent’ to having an electronic record that will in the future be linked up to a national system, some a mental health trust in London has decided to withhold medical treatment from patients. The trust claims that providing care without it going on such a system is not safe. Why they think it is safer to withhold treatment is any ones guess.

 To me, this seems yet another example of how the public are being forced, and even having their life’s put at risk, if they refuse to roll over and give ‘consent’ to this sort of data sharing.

 As always, some links below

E-Health Insider


Saturday, 27, June, 2009 Posted by | access, confidential, databases, dignity, ethics, health, health access, Human rights, morals, NHS, patient rights, privacy | , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Suspected Alcoholics to be targeted?

I came across this bird brain idea the government has come up with to ‘help’ alcoholics. The idea is that if you are an alcoholic you must get help or have your benefits cut.


So what is the problem? First of all, how do you show the person is an Alcoholic? Are they going to randomly spy on people to see how much they buy or are they going to have doctors/nurses and other health workers spy on patients for them? Will they go through the patients electronic record held on a national database to see how many units of alcohol people admit to drinking or to see if they have problems that could be associated to alcohol? Will they check phone records to see who has been calling Alcoholics anonymous?


This is yet another example of where the government says it wants to help people, yet at the same time simply ignores the underlying problems people have and the fact that people that have problems can not easily gain access to a truly confidential service. If you tell your GP then you in affect allow every doctor/nurse you see know, admin staff get to find out, it gets put on a national database, insurance companies will find out (… the ombudsman sided with the company, when an applicant rightly declared she did not drink alcohol on an application form, but neglected to state that she was receiving psychiatric help for a drink problem, nor that she had formerly attended Alcoholics Anonymous). if you want to work with children you might have to declare it and then there are things like the child Index which could see the information shared with Social Services and Schools if someone thinks there is a ‘concern’.


To make things worse, there is the issue of what if they are wrong? We all know doctors see themselves as Gods who are always right and even if you do get to prove they are wrong, the original claim that you are an alcoholic is kept on file and is a stigma that will follow you around for the rest of your life. What if it gets lost? If the goverment realy cared about helping people with problems, they would spend money on allowing them access to a truly confidential and barriers, such as insurance companies being able to find out, would be removed. Instead they have decided to take another step into making the UK a surveillance society.



Links bellow

BBC news story

Wednesday, 15, April, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Now BUPA is to be sent patient data

It seems that some people, or rather NHS trust, are still determined to share patient data. Not only have they decided to go with the implied consent model to share patient data, they have only given patients 15 days to opt-out of it. The idea is to make some patient data available to nurses working for BUPA as ‘health coaches’. The idea is patient data will be sent to BUPA so that their nurses can help patients with long term health problems such as diabetes, asthma and heart disease. It does not stop their however, the service is being offered to everybody in the West Kent area in an attempt to reduce unnecessary attendance at GP practices and at A&E departments (I thought that is what NHS Direct is for). There is no doubt that it would benefit some patients if they were referred to a ‘health coach’ but to send patient data to others without seeking consent (implied consent has been shown to be unreliable) is, in my view, just another step in the NHS plan to make people get used to the idea of sharing private information with other people to the point we will know no difference. As always, relevant links below

e-health insider

The register

Friday, 20, March, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Clause 152 dropped

It has been a while since I last posted, so I thought I should post something and it is good news!


The government have dropped something called clause 152 of the Coroners and Justice Bill. This clause had caused a lot of controversy when it was spotted because it was designed to make it easier to share medical information across Whitehall.


More information /related articles below (no set date order, sorry).


E-health insider

E-health Insider

The Herald

Friday, 13, March, 2009 Posted by | access, confidential, data rape, databases, ethics, Human rights, intrusion, privacy | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Records Inappropriately accessed

It has been reported that the ECS of patients in Scotland has been accessed without patient consent. It is not kwon how many patients have been affected and when I was listening to the news last night it seems the NHS trust in question (Fife) do not know when the records were accessed or why they were accessed.

As usual, here are a couple of links about it.

Thursday, 4, December, 2008 Posted by | access, confidential, data security, databases, ECS, GPs, NHS, opt-out, privacy | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

List of NHS data breaches

Just a quick note to give a link to a list of data breaches by NHS areas/regions (England only). I am not sure if this is all data breaches.

Link to word doc:

Link obtained from

Thursday, 27, November, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Patient rights

As a patient you have the following rights (I have put sources next to most and willing to back the following information up). I will be posting more about this.

1) You can ask for a doctor of the same gender for intimate examinations (source, Strawberry Gardens Medical practice, Morecambe). Even hospitals will allow this but this might not always be possible as it depends on how many doctors they have and I think it would depend on who asked, for example a Childs need might come first, something I can understand. If that is not possible at your GP practice, go to another practice and tell them you are in need of immediate medical attention and due to the nature only willing to see a male/female GP (you do not need to tell them what it is for). In some cases some patients might prefer a doctor of the opposite gender. You should also be asked if you want a chaperone to be present and they should be of the same gender as you.

2) You can refuse to have a trainee present. Might sound obvious, but this was not always followed in the past, especially by some teaching hospital ( In the words of a friend of mine “they viewed those patients as a piece of meat on a slab”

3) You can refuse to allow data to be shared with admin staff and others. “You must respect the wishes of any patient who objects to particular information being shared with others providing care, except where this would put others at risk of death or serious harm.” Source, GMC. This is also seems to be backed up by the NHS code of practice 2003 and the BMA. It is also something the Clinical Governance Support Practitioner NHS Grampian (although he seems to have turned a blind eye to the fact that this is happening and practices in the Grampian area). You can also have clinical data withheld from other doctors/nurses unless it would put others at serious risk. For example if you have been raped/abused, you do not need to let every doctor you see know if that helps you cope.

4) You can refuse medical treatment. This can be overridden if you are not deemed to me mentally competent. This has been controversial in the past (

Tam Fry, the chairman of the Child Growth Foundation seemed to be planning on forcing children to give data for the ‘fat stats’ exercise the government wanted when he stated “The Social Care Act says that when there is an urgent need for medical information it can override an individual’s right to refuse.” (The Times, 21/12/06, p.24). In the future they will most likely get this info from their National Care Records ( without consent  

Sunday, 23, November, 2008 Posted by | dignity, exam, exams, GPs, medical, patient rights | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Employer access to medical information

So what can employers ask you? Quite a lot actually!

For example I have had questionnaires that ask  if you have ever had emotional problems, had diarrhoea, vomiting, dysentery, food poising and any other medical problems. In other words if you have seen a GP/nurse for something, you must declare it directly to the employer and anyone else that handles the form. You also have to supply ‘details’ for each thing. Even if the employer does not misuse the above info (we all know this happens) and does not tell anyone (again we all know this happens), I for one think asking those sorts of questions is bang out of order and the CO-OP should not be asking them. I have also had questionaires that go as far as asking if you have ever been sexually abused because the job involves working with children!

What happens after you start? Well think about it. If you had to declare this sort of info before starting, they will most likely want to know it after you start, so no way to get help with emotional problems or anything else without telling the boss. I for one think that is bang out of order. I am all for employers knowing if you are capable of doing the job, but that in no way should allow them to know our medical info. The Job? Stacking shelves and serving customers at a shop in Bucksburn area of Aberdeen.. Why would that thrush, UTI or bleeding from your rectum prevent you from doing the job?

Some employers can also ask you to have a complete medical examination, such a the ones BUPA offers for employee screening ( With that in mind, you might want to ask for doctor of the same gender if you are being asked to have a medical for an employer, just in case in involves anything more than very basic stuff (you are allowed a GP of the same gender for intimate examinations even if it is not for a job). If your not bothered then that is is up to you.

The UK health profession refuse to do anything to stop this sort of thing and last time I contacted the MSP for my area (an SNP guy in Aberdeen) he seemed far from interested in stopping it, he even seemed to think it was a good idea for employers to invade our privacy.  

Saturday, 22, November, 2008 Posted by | employeers, exam, medical, SNP | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Organ donor plan to be rejected by scientists?

It would seem that the goverment might not be able to go with their implied consent idea for organ donation.

Implied consent is something that I am against. Taking an organ from someone on the assumption that they would want it taken is not good and lacks ethics.

With expressed consent the doctor and family know for a fact the patient wanted it, with implied consent there will always  be the possibility that the person did not want it. Implied consent has been shown time and time again that it does not work, so why rely on something that is serously flawed? With implied consent there are also legal problems that might come up. What happens if one mamber of the family says yes and another says no? With implied consent not being reliable, would taken the organ with only implied consent open the doctor facing legal action? Expressed consent gets over this.

It is easy enough to get people to opt-in. You could ask colleges/uni’s to give them out at registration, GP practice staff could ask patients as they arive if they have thought about it and news papers could give them away. The way to get donor cards to people is not a problem.

As always, here is the link:

Friday, 14, November, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Child protection

Breaking the distrust

Catchy titles are not something I’m good at, so I thought I would keep it simple.


Everyone knows there are 2 sides to every story and that those on opposing sides often think they know best. The question nobody seems to ask is, is that the best’s opinion to have and am I really right?


There are people that do not trust child protection officers and there are people who think they are brilliant. At the same time you get people like me who are always on the side of the child which means I am often against both sides. You would think that would be the best place to be, but in reality it is a rather uncomfortable and at times upsetting place to be because I see both sides go at it, often like they were possessed, and I see the child stuck in the middle. I know of people who have been saved because of child protection workers and I know of others that have had their life ruined by child protection workers.


Having never done an article like this before, I thought it would be easier to play devils advocate for both sides. I am hopping that by putting both sides in the same article along with some solutions I think would help, at least some of those on the opposing armies will have a truce and do what is best for the child, that is stop thinking they are always right, get rid of their ego and start talking to each other.


Why the distrust?

There are various reasons why the public distrust paediatricians who work in child protection and other child protection workers. They operate in a world more secret than the security services, they are perceived to assume they are always right, the court hearings are among the most secret anywhere in the world meaning there is little or no transparency, they rely on things that are virtually impossible to defend against and they are often seen as being able to do what ever they want.


Despite all these concerns (I’m sure there are more), child protection officers still can’t seem to understand why they get such a hard time.


Whilst child protection workers do need to have some powers to act in the child’s best interest, is it right for them to have so much power whilst working under such secrecy? Some of the concerns might be unfounded, but the perception of child protection workers is important, simply thinking or saying it is not right misses the point and fails to address the concerns raised.


There is an argument that these levels of powers, secrecy and lower standards of proof are all needed to protect the child, but do they hold water and who is benefiting the most, the child or the profession?



Whilst there is an obvious need to protect the child’s privacy, is this done to an extent that goes far beyond what is needed and worse still, does this level of secrecy mean the child’s right, both under the human rights act and the Convention on the Rights of the Child are breached? After all, does the child not have a right to a family? How many times have we read/heard about the rape/sexual assault of women and even children in the news without them being identified? Whilst it would be far easier to work out the identity of the child if the identity of those involved were released, is it impossible to release any information without revealing their identity?


Some time ago there was a TV programme about the way the family courts work. In part of the programme it was reported that they were not allowed to say if 3 ‘experts’ talked to the parents before deciding if they harmed the child. Would the reporting of such a crucial thing really risk the child’s right to privacy? Would revealing the ‘experts’ did not talk to the parents show that there was a serious flaw in the evidence?


These courts are so secretive that reporters are not allowed in the court room, yet reporters are allowed in courts that involve serious sexual offences. What is the difference?


Burden of proof

This is a very touchy subject in fact even suggesting the burden of proof is to low can get you in trouble with some people.


Whilst the burden of proof does need to be lower, especially for those that can not give evidence, does it need to be so low?


It is well known that what would be thrown out of court, can be used to have children taken into care and child protection workers see themselves as being better than anyone else. Some stories that have been reported simply go to show how dangerous it is to have such a low level of proof, especially in courts that are so secretive. I took just 10 min to find a few examples, given an hour or so the list could be longer even with the secrecy surrounding child protection.



Have you ever noticed how young some child protection experts and social workers are? Granted some are getting on in years, but others look as if they are not long out of school or worse still, should still be in school. Can someone who has never had to raise a family and has had very little life experience be expected to know what’s best? If their background has been both parents, well off, private school and brought up in a nice area, can that really prepare them for dealing with a single mum/dad from a poor family staying in a housing estate in Glasgow where you don’t go out after dark? Are they really going to know what’s best simply because of their training? Are their personal experiences going to have an influence on what they think is best for the child?


Granted, not every child protection expert or social worker should have had a crap upbringing and be old enough to get a free bus pass, but should there be a balance of backgrounds and age in cases involving child protection?


Combination of things

The combination of the low standards of proof, the attitude of child protection workers and the secrecy surrounding what happens only makes things much worse, yet very little, if anything, is done to change this. This leaves us asking the question, why?


The ‘experts’ side

I write this not based on much experience (although I do have some), so others might think I am wrong on what I have to say.


Protecting a child is one of the most important things anyone can do and saving a child from abuse or neglect has got to be one of the greatest things anyone can do.


There is nothing more upsetting than thinking a child is at risk and not being able to do anything about it, I should know, I have been in that position. If you thought a child was at risk, how far would you go to protect them? That is an important question, because thinking of an answer might give you an insight into how child protection workers might feel.


Child protection workers have one aim, protect the child. They are often stuck between a rock and a hard place. If they get it wrong and the child is harmed, the press complain about them and if they take a child away when they should not have, the press complain about them and parent groups get vocal.


There is also the amount of work involved to be considered. Back in 2005 social workers took to picket lines over their casework load. Putting aside the details of the Victoria Climbie case (one often sited by government as a example of how we need more and more intrusion into private life’s), this was a tragic example of excessive work loads. It was reported back in 2001 that the case worker involved was overworked and not properly supervised. Instead of having to deal with her target of 12 caseloads, she was reported to have had 18. This not only shows what harm can come to a child by workload overload, but it also raises the question about the workload of other social workers etc. If you have a workload far in excessive of what you can cope with mistakes will happen, children will not only be harmed, but children might be taken away without good reason. The latter of these is crucial when thinking about some social workers and child protection workers. Whilst there is no doubt there will be people determined to get children away from parents regardless of what everyone else thinks because they think they know better or they simply don’t like the parents lifestyle, but does this extra workload mean some child protection workers are overly keen to get things done and dusted, something that could be causing them to get it wrong?


Is it right to target a group of workers who are often overworked and often stressed? I am not saying it justifies what they do, but it can help understand why they work the way they do.


There is also the fear of getting it wrong. If you get it wrong and the child is taken away you might get the odd slap on the wrist, but who else will know? The secrecy surrounding the system is so tight, will anyone else ever know? Public criticisms of such people rarely make the headlines and when they do, other child protection workers often come to the rescue. You only have to look at the case involving Prof Southall to see how this can happen. Putting aside whether or not he should have been allowed to keep doing the work, it is not only an example of how no matter how bad you get it, people will protect you, it is also a excellent example of how the press and family groups will go for your throat. On the other hand if you get it wrong and harm comes to the child, you can start emptying your desk because when the shit hits the fan, the fan is usually held by your boss and politicians who aim it at you. You only have to look at what the social worker involved with Victoria Climbie went through to see how people can be used as an escape goat. Faced with those options, can anyone say that this has no effect on judgment?


There are also those dreaded targets that have to be met. I am not saying children should be taken away to meet targets, anyone who thinks that quite clear should not be working in child protection. What I mean by this is there are targets to be meet and people get in trouble for not meeting targets. If this is having an affect on the amount of children taken into care, then would it not be better for both sides to work together to get rid of these targets?


The combination of workload, targets, stress, fear of getting it wrong and a lack of life experience could be having an affect. That does not make the person evil or even just not a nice person, it means they are human beings working under extreme pressure yet they are often viewed as hostile and the enemy.



Whilst being the first to admit to not being a child protection expert, I fail to see why giving people a massive workload is better than taken on more staff to allow more contact time for staff and helping to reduce stress levels.


The stress levels is something I think is crucial. Can someone under extreme stress be expected to get it right every time? Allowing child protection workers uninhibited direct access to a specialist counselling service without their boss knowing (unless they were thought to be a risk) and decreasing workloads could do far more than simply collecting data in ways that have now been described as ‘data rape’. Does anyone know the amount of social workers and child protection workers that suffer from stress? If not, some really needs to do an anonymous survey because that is crucial.


To use a specific example, I will use MSBP. For things like MSBP should there be more places/spaces where children can be looked after with only parental supervision? That would allow the child to be safe whilst allowing the parents to see the child on a regular basis meaning if the parent is found not to be harming the child, the bond is not broken. If used in conjunction with more after birth health care for both parents, the parents could get help if they have emotional problems. Having supervised access could also allow parents to eventually take their children home with them if they get better. This would cost a lot of money but considering the £12 billion spent on the NHS database, £300 million spent on the child index and lots of other things, would it not be worthwhile spending something that could keep families together?


If you are a parent and you think your child is ill and get help only to find out nothing is wrong, will you ever take him/her back to hospital if you are worried about being called a liar who is making it up simply to subject your child to medical test?


All those involved in child protection and other social care work, need to sit back and ask the question, “Are we doing more harm than good”? This might seem like a stupid question, but with the way things are run and the way the government is planning on invading the privacy of parents and children. This is not such a stupid question.


Parent groups also need to sit back and think about what they are doing. If you push people, they push back, if you annoy them, they are not going to be all that nice to you ether. Sit back and think of ways to work with child protection workers, you might find you have common ground.



With the way information, including sensitive information, is set to be shared with more and more people, will this see parents and children withholding information from others and not seeking help sooner for fear of losing their child or future children? It is easy to say they should, but why should the parents or the child not be allowed to get help in confidence? From where I am standing, it makes better sense to increase the ways people can obtain help and make it easier for them to get access. Why spend Billions on spying, when we could spend less on allowing people to get help far easier with not having to worry about the police, employers, insurance companies, social services and others finding out? There will always be people who refuse to get help and others who are determined to harm their child, but are the current systems and the proposed increase on data sharing going to help? I doubt it simply because you can only share data you have and if parents and children do not share info out of fear, nether can you.


What also seems to have been ignored are the consequences of collecting so much information when it comes to workload. The child index/database/contact point (its name has been changed a few times) is set to increase the amount of information in a way that there will be very few families not in contact with social services, yet has the government decided to increase the amount of social workers and other child protection workers to match the workload? Will 16 case loads soon be the norm?


The system needs to be changed to the point where social workers etc are seen as people you go to for help rather than people who come to your door at 6 in the morning to take your child away. For that to happen, everyone needs to stop viewing the army on the other side of the battle line as if they were in the trenches in World War One because at the end of the day both sides want what is best for the child, a family and to be safe.


There are some key question government and child protection workers need to address:


  1. If a child protection worker thinks someone is withholding information will they jump top the conclusion that the child is at risk?
  2. Should we as citizens in a free country have to worry about who will know if we have a drink or gambling problem?
  3. Would it be better if we could get help without others knowing or should be denied help if we are not prepared to tell social workers, schools, police etc?
  4. What is best for the child, being allowed to get help without others knowing or simply not getting help?
  5. Is it better to have more child protection and social workers to lessen their workload to allow them to make a more involved judgment or better to simply invade the privacy of families?
  6. Is it best to have more places where families can get help or is it best to simply build databases to collect info about them?
  7. Will the way more and more info is accessed and shared mean there will be an increased workload and if so, will this make matters worse?



There is a balance to be struck between protecting children, protecting child protection officers and protecting privacy. So long as child protection workers use outdated laws to prevent the public knowing what they do, so long as they intrude more and more into the life’s of families and are seen to be protecting each other, the public will have no trust in child protection workers and that will see children harmed. Simply saying you are an expert and expecting people to believe you and making no apology for getting it wrong is not good enough. On the other hand, so long as family pressure groups see child protection workers as the enemy and treat them with disgust, nothing will change and families will be torn apart and worse, children will die.


My experience of dealing with child protection workers is not a direct one but I have had close friends who have had direct experience in the past, including a 12 year old girl who was failed because of the way the system worked then (might be different now). That 12 year old was to become the best friend I have ever had, but because of the system in place at the time and not being able to get help when she needed it, she committed suicide at the age of 19, an experience that has stayed with me all these years. On the other hand my experience of being ‘harmed’ because of the way data is shared is something I have a lot of.’t-admit-it’s-wrong.html?pageNum=3


Wednesday, 5, November, 2008 Posted by | abuse, child rights, confidential, databases, distrust, ethics, health, Human rights, intrusion, medical, morals, NHS, privacy, victim rights | , , , , | Leave a comment

Compulsary drug testing for pubs/clubs in Aberdeen

It seems that the police along with pub and club owners in Aberdeen have joined other cities in making it compulsary for pub/club goers to face compulsary drug testing if they want to have access to the pub/club.

Although it is claimed people can say no, they are denied access if they refuse and if the police in Aberdeen are as bad as other areas, those saying no for any number of reasons (privacy, human rights, being wrongly accused of handaling drugs etc) will be investigated by the police. Saying no is not an option.

With some schools and the police wanting drug testing in schools, it is not hard to see a time when the min we walk out the door we are tested for all sorts of things and it is not hard to see that the children of today will be the brainwashed of tomorrow, which is handy for those pub/club owners and the police.

As with the schools, testing is done in public, so you better make sure you wash your hands everytime you touch a surface just incase it has been contaminated because that will get you ether a ‘amber’ or ‘red’ light which will see you getting searched for drugs in public.

If the pub/club owners and the police realy cared about combating drugs in pubs/clubs they would deal with the dealers rather than trying to brainwash us into thinking it is OK to be tested wherever we go.

The cost of these things to test  a few hundered people queing to get in is about £30,000.00 whereas hiring a sniffer dog that can easily go from one pub to the nest and search a lot more people and catch the dealers is about £300.00 a night.

Why would the pub/club owners want to spend £30,000.00 to find out who might have been in contact with drugs (the machine does not know if you handled the drugs directly or if you simply touched a contaminated surface) rather than spend about £300.00 for dog to catch the dealers is something you would would need to ask the club/pub owners because I can only think of 2 reasons. 1) the machine is purley another PR stunt or 2) for some reason they do not want to target the dealers.

Sunday, 2, November, 2008 Posted by | drug test, Grampian, intrusion, medical, privacy | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Hundreds of millions of medical records shared

It would seem the government have agreed to allow academics access to hundreds of millions of medical records without patient consent or knowledge. I would try and pretend to be shocked, but that would require acting good enough to get me an Oscar, so I think I will give it a miss.


Computer weekly wrote “The transferred records contain patient-identifiable information on nearly every stay by patients in hospitals in England, and visits to an accident and emergency department. Also within the transferred records are 215 million confidential files on visits to outpatient departments.


So who got the information? First of all the data was sent to BT (they run a service called the Secondary Use Service) who then passed this information to the Dr Foster unit. also points out “The Dr Foster Unit has received for research purposes 500 million health records, which includes 180 million inpatient and day cases. The unit has 285 million files which include patient-identifiable information”.


We are constantly told by the NHS, the government and researchers that patient privacy is something that is taken seriously, yet hundreds of millions of records are shared without patient consent.


With the government (along with backing from researchers) determined to make everyone’s record available via a national database accessible the police, researchers and countless others, things can only get worse.


As always, please follow the links for more information: story:


Dr Foster Unit:


BT (sorry, SUS)



Tuesday, 28, October, 2008 Posted by | data security, intrusion, medical, privacy | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Termination rights

Having not said anything for a while, I thought it was about time I did and I thought I would go with something controversial.


There has been talk about a woman’s right to have a termination without having to get permission from 2 GPs and some people really hate that idea.


Being a bloke, I do not think I am in a position to say what is definitely right or wrong however I do think I can raise questions that people should be asking.


If a woman wants a termination and does not get approval from 2 GPs (20% GPs want terminations stopped and 25% refuse based on their own ethics), will she simply find anther way? For example she could force a miscarriage or go to a backstreet abortionist.


Should we not be doing more to avoid unwanted pregnancy in the 1st place? This is where a lot of people seem rather 2 faced. Some people are completely against the idea of a termination but at the same time do not approve of contraception. In other words, they think you should only have sex if you are prepared to have children. If the result is you getting pregnant and giving your child away, then they would rather have that. Sorry to be blunt, but if that is your attitude, you really need to wake up and get in the real world with the rest of us.


There is also the issue of sexual assaults. There are people that think even if you get pregnant by rape you should be forced to have the child. Should someone that was raped be told what to do with her own body after having that right taken away from some sick pervert? What happens to those who get raped but do not want to rport it, ether because they do not want others to know or because they see reporting it a waste of time (the conviction rate for rape in the UK is embarassingly low)?


Then there is all those with access to the fact she had a termination. Accesse to such info is a large subject (see some of my previous notes), but would others knowing be yet another reason for a woman to go to the backstreets?


I do not think getting a termination is something any woman would find easy, but the way the current system works is not helping and is probably making things far worse. There is no reason why a woman can not book directly with a clinic where she can get advice, sources of help and some counselling before she makes up her mind.

Friday, 17, October, 2008 Posted by | ethics, GPs, medical, morals, patient rights | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Been busy

Just in case anyone reads this and thinks I’ve gone away, I’ve not. Been a bit busy latley and promis to update the blog soon.

In meanttime, here are a couple of sites you might want to look at.

Friday, 26, September, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Police to get access to national child database

It seems the goverment have finaly confirmed that the police are to be allowed to access the national child database.

First of all the people who are allowed access to this information (teachers, social workers and health workers to name but a few) steal information about children and their families so as to invade their privacy, now they are wanting to share the information with the police long after the child has turned 18.

With information being stolen from the childs and family Summary Care Record, it is easy to see how doctors/nurses are nothing short of agents for the state.

Link to story:

Wednesday, 27, August, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Connecting for Health set to scrap the implied consent model?

It seems that CfH may decide that their ‘implied consent’ model for sharing patient identifiable data may be getting changed. Don’t jump for joy however as it is not all good news.

CfH (who might get support from the BMA) might decide to go to a ‘consent to view’ model similar to the one used in Scotland even though this has been shown to be seriously flawed and there are still significant differences on what is shared and with whom..

So whats the problem?

The consent to view model does not solve problems, it can make them worse and hides the serious issue of SUS and others geting hold of patient data.

Doctors, nurses and even admin staff do not need the consent of a patient to view the records as it is up to the doctor and nurse to decide what they see and what others see (although in some places that decision is taken by just 1 doctor).

It is rather typical of the BMA to run away from the issue of SUS and others, such a the police, getting hold of the information. The consent to view model is typical of doctors, nurses and NHS managers who like to go on the idea that what the patient does not know will not hurt them. They also go on the idea that doctor/nurse knows best. It is a matter of fact (and this is supported by the GMC, Calldicott Gaurdians and the ICO) that a doctor/nurse can not only view information the patient has said they do not want them to see but the doctor/nurse can also withhold medical treatment if the patient says no. That means if you go along to an out of hours centre or A&E and say no to their request to view the record they can ether still access it or actually refuse to treat you.

Consent to view is a joke.

Further reading:

Sunday, 3, August, 2008 Posted by | intrusion, medical, privacy | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Human Rights judgement: Major consequences for NHS database?

Although I am pleased there has been such a rulling I think it needs to ne looked at very carefully.

Paul Thormton mentions that it was about un-otherised access and about the nurse not having a role to play in the patients health care.

It should not be forgoten (and this is what makes this ruling less effective for those against the national database) the amount of aurthorised userers and ligitmimate access and use has been increasing over the years and doctors/nurses have refused to do anything about it (most have even been caausing the increase and have co-operated with those invading our privacy)). It is also up to GP practices (not individual GPs) who will have a legitimate need to access the data. This last ssue is also where the likes of TBOO and loads of doctors fall down and are shown to have double standards. If a nurse in an asthma clinic has a ‘need to know’ had an abortion, sexual problem, rape/abuse and everything ales in the patients record they can not then complain if a consultant at A&E were to access the same information especially where it is a matter of life or death.

It would also be hard to stand your ground and demand a receptionist at A&E should not have access to a patients record whilst at the same time allowing their own reception staff the same level of access.

I have been in practices where doctors can withhold medical treatment if the patient says no to data sharing, even if this causes harm or death to the patient or others. I think if GPs are allowed to do such things with the aproval/backing of the GMC, BMA, NHS, the ICO and Calldicott Gaurdians, it is hard, if not impossible, to say a consultant/nurse at the hospital can not do the same thing. If have been in practices where staff have accessed records without patient consent and as I found out from the ICO when complaining about Lancashier And South Cumbria Agencey in Preston, a patient has no right to stop access even where the person accessing the record has alterd an access request to gain access to the record.

You can jump for joy at this rulling if you want, but chances are you will hit the floor hard when reality sets in.

Other links about this story (soory they are so long): (full rulling)

Thursday, 24, July, 2008 Posted by | GPs, intrusion, medical, privacy | , , , | Leave a comment

More access to health records?

It is not long since people like me warned about the increasing access to our medical records and now the NHS seems to be confirming our greates fears.

Bellow are links to stories about how there are plans to increase the amount of people with access to our records. It is bad enough a patient cant tell their GP something without having to let every doctor and nurse they see at the practice know about it despite there usually not being a ‘need to know’ basis, It is bad enough reception staff are getting access to our records and knowing our test results and what medications we have been issued, now they want to social care, voluntry orgs, private firms, researchers and never ending list.


Will doctors defend the patient right to privacy? Dont bank on it!

Wednesday, 16, July, 2008 Posted by | confidential, databases, ethics, GPs, Human rights, hypocrite, intrusion, medical, NHS, opt-out, patient rights, privacy | , , , , | 1 Comment

“Health bosses have ordered a data amnesty after an employee lost personal information of 137 patients. NHS Lothian launched the campaign to ensure all 28,000 staff understand the rules on storing sensitive data – and own up if they lost files themselves.

The move comes after a worker admitted losing a computer memory stick with copies of letters sent to Edinburgh GPs by NHS Lothian over two years.

The letters cover details of patients in the central Edinburgh from 2006″.

This is something I sort of think is good. I believe that if someones loses patient data they should get in serious trouble or even sacked (right now most people get a slap on the wrist) but at the same time I think it is important to try find out how much data has been lost, I guess this is one of the best ways but it also means letting some people off the hook. It does say a lot about how worried some NHS trust are when they need to have this sort of thing.

Sunday, 6, July, 2008 Posted by | data security, privacy | , , , , | Leave a comment