Want to keep your medical history private?
You have less than 20 days to fill in this form and send it to your doctor
Apologies in advance for reduced hellfire today but if you have any objection to the NHS scraping your medical history into a database it will share with third parties you have until June 23rd to stop them doing it.
They’ll do it to 55 million others without them knowing about it.
Maybe no one cares? We all consent. It’s a jolly good idea.
Even so, I think we should have been consulted and our permission properly sought in advance.
The database will include sensitive information on mental and sexual health, and any history of abuse you may have endured.
Unlike the Duchess of Sussex, I crave privacy, and have had to share far more personal information than I’ve ever wanted to in public to make money (because I am a journalist and if I want to carry on working I have to live with the fact that female journalists must write about themselves because journalism consists of us constantly having to write about ourselves.) If I’d had the misfortune to suffer a miscarriage I’d not have announced it in an op-ed in the New York Times voluntarily. Some people are very open about these things - that’s their way of coping and dealing with misfortune - but some of us aren’t and we should be allowed permission to keep things to ourselves.
It’s often said tech companies know more about us than we know about ourselves. They will in future if they contain the sorts of notes even we wouldn’t want to re-read.
Matt Hancock has publicised his plans on flyers at GP surgeries to which you have very likely had absolutely no access to for a year. He also put it on blogs on the NHS Digital website. I only just found out because I follow Peter Hitchens on Twitter, and he shared an article published in the Financial Times which is, naturally, behind a paywall.
Here is the relevant passage and the link:
‘Patients have until June 23 to opt out by filling in a form and taking it to their GP before their historical records will become a permanent and irreversible part of the new data set.’
I do not understand how this is happening to confidential information I would not want to share with my own mother.
No jokes today. Try as I might I can’t find this situation funny.