Aug 102015
 August 10, 2015  Business, Healthcare, Non-U.S.

Laura Donnelly reports:

High street pharmacies such as Boots, Tesco and Superdrug will be given access to NHS medical records, under a national scheme which privacy campaigners fear could expose patients to “hard sell” tactics.

Health officials have drawn up plans to send sensitive data from GP surgeries to pharmacies across the country, starting this autumn, without considering the views of patients.

NHS England says the scheme will ease pressures on family doctors, and improve the care given to patients in the High Street.

But campaigners fear major commercial chains will be able to exploit the valuable data, and use it to push the sales of their products.

This is such a horrifyingly bad idea that it’s difficult to know where to begin. Consider this:

Summary care records are held on all NHS patients, unless they specifically opt out.

The data from them will be sent on to all pharmacies, starting this autumn, but pharmacists have to ask patient’s for “permission to view” the record during any encounter

Latest figures show such records are held on 96 per cent of patients in England.

They include all medication prescribed over the last six to 12 months, and any personal information, such as diagnoses or patient preferences added to the file by GPs.

Why should all pharmacies receive this information? If a patient wants a particular pharmacy to have access to their records, why not use opt-in approach?

Somewhere there must be some discussion of data security for all this. What access controls will be in place? And will data be encrypted at rest, or will every pharmacy now become a low-hanging fruit target for hackers?

Read more on Telegraph.

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