My reservation about Joining Up Your Information

This morning I found this mailing in our hallway:

joining-up-your-information1

joining-up-your-information2

Most of this sounds very good and sensible. But I did have one serious reservation, so I took them up on the invitation to email them on mylocal.sharedcareinfo@nhs.net. Here’s what I wrote:

Dear Shared Care Info,

Thank you for the mailing that I received this morning about the Joining Up Your Information initiative. While this sounds eminently sensible, I have a concern about the first of the “Important facts” bullet points:

“Personal health and social care information will only by available to authorised local health and social care professionals and will never be passed on to anyone else unless we have your consent or it is allowed by law.”

I hope you will agree with me that the final clause is rather weaselly: “… or it is allowed by law”. I would hope it goes without saying that you would not pass personal information on if it is NOT allowed by law! But here you seem to be saying that whatever is legal, you reserve the right to do.

Given our present government’s rush to privatise every possible public service — the Land Register seems to be most recent one — this leaves me intensely concerned that t some point the law will quietly be changed to make it legal to give out our medical information, and it will then be sold to private corporations for whatever purpose they wish.

Do you share my concern? Because the present phrasing really does seem to be equivalent to “We won’t share your information at the moment because it would be illegal”.

Thanks for your thoughts,

Dr. Mike Taylor

(I don’t usually use the “Dr.”, but I thought it would be appropriate to pull rank in this case, in the hope that they” take my inquiry a bit more seriously — especially if they jump to the conclusion that I am a medical doctor!)

I’ll let you all know what response I get.

5 responses to “My reservation about Joining Up Your Information

  1. Jenny Ermoyenous

    That was my reaction to the letter too. I’m still debating what to do about it.

  2. Here’s what my mum said on Facebook about this:

    I understand your concerns Mike. Some time ago I filled in a form to find out about help with arthritis problems. This was from my local doctors surgery. A few week later I was inundated with leaflets about adjustable beds and chairs, stairlifts, pain relief and much more. The only way these companies could have got my address, email etc is via my local surgery. I think this is unethical and downright sly. Don’t like it at all.

  3. Sneaky. I read right over that, mentally changing it to the usual “required by law.”

  4. Pingback: A response from Joining Up Your Information; and my reply | The Reinvigorated Programmer

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