For this week's post, I decided to do an act of change for myself. I am writing to my doctor.
No, I am not ill, or attempting to solicit a relationship outside of the standard doctor-patient rule, but in protest.
Many of the readers of Project52 in the UK will have heard that our medical records held with our GP's are to be made available to organisations outside of the NHS. Some of this sensitive personal information will be shared with researchers but there are no clear restrictions on who may receive this information. Before being made available, the data will go through a process of pseudonymisation in which some personal identifiable data will be removed. The data that is made available could still include date of birth, postcode, and gender, which could easily be matched against public records such as the electoral register and data already held by private companies to identify individuals.
Other groups who may be given access to this information are completely outside of the medical community entirely. These groups include Insurance companies and their associates. This could potentially lead to individuals being refused service by a company based on their medical history or even cold callers targeting individuals whose medical records mention specific conditions.
This of course does not sit well on my conscience, as not only will it enable others to profit from my own medical problems and those of my fellow countrymen (and women), but I fear it will also leave those who have a poor prognosis or on-going mental health conditions open to being taken advantage of, as these companies will now have access to people who may be vulnerable or easily coerced.
With this in mind, I have decided to write to my doctor to explain that I do not give consent, and that I wish for my records to be removed from the scheme. I strongly recommend that all my UK readers do the same for themselves and anyone under their care.
For more information, please visit: www.medconfidential.org
**Project52 acknowledges that there are some wonderful Insurance companies out there, many of which will let the client come to them, rather than them approach the client through cold calling methods. **