In what is effectively a forerunner to the controversial Care.data project from NHS England Pharmacies (including of course Boots, Tesco and Superdrug) will now have access to patient’s confidential data (the so called 'Summary Care Record'). This is being rolled out across England following a pilot scheme in 140 pharmacies where almost 2000 patient’s records were accessed.
However, despite that, only 15 patient evaluation forms were received showing a lack of understanding and engagement from patients. Equally there was confusion from pharmacists about the confidential nature of data, and what permissions were required in order to access it.
Understandably, many are concerned about the potential data privacy implications of rolling this out nationwide. There are some that are concerned about the potential for companies such as Boots linking this data to that of loyalty cards for example. Others have concerns about the security of such data and how restricted access can be. The Pirate Party want to suggest alternatives, so that data can be accessed in a secure and patient-led manner.
Pirate Party Spokesperson Danfox Davies said:
"There are several big trends disrupting every corner of life at the moment, and the NHS, if it is to survive, must utilise them. The biggest is the emergence of trustless secure data verification and distributed, peer to peer records through the blockchain. If we can help that do to the NHS what it's already starting to do with finance (such as with Bitcoin), we won't need Care.data or anything else that infringes privacy.
The governments we have had for the last century and more have maintained a common trend of keeping things 'top secret' that are in the public's best interests to know about, and making an art form of the wide broadcast of the things that really ought to be kept to ourselves. The Pirate Party believe in the desire and ability to turn that corrupt system on its head.
What we need is to have a forward thinking reinvention of the NHS. It can't be renationalised, nationalisation is not the answer per se, not in its 20th century form. We need disintermediation, removing the middle-people from between you and your data."
Previous Pieces on Care.Data:
- https://pirateparty.org.uk/blog/editor/opinion-nhs-caredata-you-are-not-patient-you-are-commodity (Jan 2014)
- https://pirateparty.org.uk/blogs/daniel-davies/nhs-big-brother-knows-best-your-decisions-mean-nothing (Jan 2015)