Big Brother goes to the Doctors

The Big Brother state marches on, growing in power. Soon every detail of our lives, habits and health will be known to the Government and stored on enormous databasess, accessible by tens of thousands of government-approved agents of the State.

The latest step toward this Authoritarian's wet dream is the placing of all our of health care records into an enormous central database, accessible by NHS staff up and down the land. Why? Fuck knows.

CF fails to see why a doctor in Cornwall, or Yorkshire, might wish to read his medical records, but then it must get boring just counting your money and planning yet another extension to the surgery.

And, doctors have warned, this is being done - surprise, surprise - entirely without our consent. Apparently, the Government is so keen to rush this into being, before they're consigned to the dustbin of history, that they are not, shall we say, being overly diligent about whether patients want their own records included or not.

Hamish Meldrum, chairman of the BMA, writes in a letter to Ministers:

"The breakneck speed with which this programme is being implemented is of huge concern.

"Patients’ right to opt out is crucial, and it is extremely alarming that records are apparently being created without them being aware of it."

Alarming, yes. Surprising? Not at all. When has this government ever cared about what we, their employers, want? When has this government ever worried about our rights as individuals?

Still, there's a small light at the end of the tunnel.

As of April this year, the Data Protection Act grows much sharper teeth. The fines for losing or misusing data about real people will be dramatically increased. Up to half a million quid per transgression. Tee hee.

So, when a junior civil servant inevitably leaves a laptop (the one we bought for him) on the 5:15 train home, with all of our medical records unencrypted on it, imagine the fucking size of the class action we can bring against the NHS and against the Government.

We'll be rich!

.

13 comments:

mungle said...

If thousands of public employees have access to our records the question of whether those details are lost is quite academic. Already several hundred public bodies can legally have access to our electronic communications. Does anyone know why for example the fire service can have access to our communication data?

Furor Teutonicus said...

IF the system WAS restricted to doctors, or nurses with "need to know" then I would agree with it.

You ever tried getting tablets for gout whilst on holiday, or like my "Mother" who's bag was nicked on a train, and had to try and get her chemo drugs in a town hundreds of miles away from home?

Or the time I moved from one part of town to another, and my notes were lost on the way to the new doctor?

The system COULD have it's uses.

Furor Teutonicus said...

Oh. Aye. We have a computerised system here. But only a doctor, through your medical insurance card, can get the info, and there is no "cross over" between insurance companys, or other Governmemnt departments.

In fact even to TRY it can land you with 30 years in prison.

Snakey said...

In my area, in order to 'opt out' of this system, I have to travel 10 miles to another GP surgery (not my local one which is only a mile away) within surgery hours and take 3 pieces of identification with me.

They have made opting out as difficult as possible for the vast majority of people in my area due to the fact that many people in my town cannot travel this distance either through infirmity, poverty, or lack of transportation.

To gain full access to my own records online I would have to go through the same procedure.

Of course, things like this are always presented as being 'good' for us but as far as I am concerned it is just another way to snoop on us all, especially when they make it so hard to remove your records from their database.

Jill said...

Actually, if you had a body that continually fell apart in rather serious ways, like me, you would realise that central records are in fact rather helpful. When your oncologist can see immediately what your GP has treated you for and what your dermatologist or haemotologist has prescribed previously, much quicker and better treatment decisions can be made. And seriously ill patients face much shorter and less stressful waits for decisions. It's not bullshit. It's true.

Your GP also doesn't have to wait days and weeks for the results of hospital x-rays and blood tests, allowing much quicker diagnoses of minor illnesses (they don't have to wait if you're already next to dead: the hospital get on the phone, as I can attest).

Having said that - there must be an opt-out, and a 'need to know' as FT says, and I wouldn't trust this government with organising my home LAN, let alone a national IT system.

Anonymous said...

I think you'll find that the system is intended to accessible from outside the UK as well.

forget any fucking attempt at privacy

Furor Teutonicus said...

Anonymous said...

I think you'll find that the system is intended to accessible from outside the UK as well.


It bloody needs to be as well.

When you leave Britain you get a card from your doctor, that you give to your new doctor wherever it is you are going to.

Great.

Except the N.H.S will NOT send medical records out of country.

I have 30 YEARS of medical records that I can not get at to show my doctor here.

This is not only bloody annoying it can be fucking DANGEROUS as well.

microdave said...

More information, and a downloadable "Opt Out" form here:

http://www.nhscarerecords.nhs.uk/options

Longrider said...

Except the N.H.S will NOT send medical records out of country.

I have 30 YEARS of medical records that I can not get at to show my doctor here.


Mrs L and I just ran into that problem...

This means that I'll probably have to go through all the same tests again...

Henry Crun said...

"CF fails to see why a doctor in Cornwall, or Yorkshire, might wish to read his medical records..."

Because CF might be on hols in Cornwall or Yorkshire and fall down and hurt himself and end up in hospital. Doctor would immediately be able to check any allergies, aversions to medical treatments, previous injuries and ailments that may impact on treatment to be delivered.

Yeah, OK so that's in a perfect NHS world. But you know, and I know, and every other person knows that given the government's propensity for making a right royal fuck up of anything remotely computer related that the doctor will actually be reading the medical records of some bloke with the same name who lives at the opposite end of the country.

The main question to be asked is what do they mean online? Is it online on the world wide interweb or online on an NHS intranet?

On an entirely different tack, I had to fill in a health form at the dentist last week. Lo and behold the last two questions related to how many units of alcohol I drank per week and how many cigs I smoke per day. I wrote "None of your business" in reply to both questions.

Lion of England said...

I can tell you what will happen,the Insurance company's, the social services,
Employers will have access ie:Every tom,dick and Harriet will stick
their paws into it, And when you believe
that the Government and the so called
Data protection agency will check to make sure that that it is safe,then you are all
Fools.one thing is sure in this Life and that is TRUST NO GOVERNMENT,OR COMPANY.
Wait for the Day some Plonker needs Money
for his gambling debt,or for Lades of the Night! you can bet your dater will be in the hands of some Insurance, company. i keep all my documents and make notes of all my visits to Doctors and take my folder with me and
take it home with me.

selsey.steve said...

I wouldn't trust the shower of shit now in power to look after anything like the data that they want to collect. It's going to be a veritable goldmine for the insurance companies who will all be prepared to pay a fiver or more per record which they can access.
Why does the local council need access to my medical records??

Intruder said...

"Because CF might be on hols in Cornwall or Yorkshire and fall down and hurt himself and end up in hospital. Doctor would immediately be able to check any allergies, aversions to medical treatments, previous injuries and ailments that may impact on treatment to be delivered."

Because now, should someone be in a road accident, requiring emergency treatment and they are unconscious, the doctors stand around wringing their hands in despair, wailing 'if only we knew if he had a peanut allergy we could save his life'.

Let's just say that the blood group was essential, and they had a choice of testing the blood group or checking the database. Which do you think they'd do?

If your answer is 'the database' then ponder this - how do you know what name to look up, eh? Credit card? Library card? Ah, perhaps we all need some sort of "identity" card with a number on which handily links to the NHS database? And perhaps this 'identity' card will also highlight your citizen's right to NHS treatment?

Perhaps your answer was 'blood test' but how long before some government funded quango will complain it's *too expensive and time-consuming* to do a blood group check when the database already has the information guaranteed 100% correct, and calculate 100s of unnecessary deaths due to waiting for blood group results.

So, your moral obligation, to keep NHS costs down and helping them to preserve your life, is to carry your identity card which also guarantees you speedier, and thus preferential treatment over the illegal immigrants stealing our NHS resources. This is already the case with veteran ID cards.

Next step, the database is wrong for one poor victim, and blood group testing becomes mandatory again, but by this time we are all obliged to carry our entitlement-to-NHS Identity cards.

Wouldn't it just be easier for people with abnormalities to carry a card (I'm diabetic, or I'm allergic to penicillin) - because if they don't have that on their person then how on earth will doctor identify them on the database?

The real problem is they have a "solution" of ID card/database/ entitlements/control and they haven't found the problem yet, only false promises of eden.