Alan Travis reports:
The confidential patient records of more than 8,000 people have been handed over by the NHS to the Home Office in the past year as part of its drive to track down immigration offenders.
A memorandum of understanding, published for the first time on Tuesday, makes clear that NHS digital is required by law to hand over non-clinical patient details including last known addresses, dates of birth, GP’s details and date registered with doctor.
The latest figures show that the number of Home Office requests have risen threefold since 2014 as the government has stepped up Theresa May’s drive to “create a hostile environment” for illegal immigrants in Britain.
Read more on The Guardian.
If this were better known, would people avoid care for fear that their provider will turn over their information/contact details to the government? There are those who would think that is just fine because these are illegal immigrants and possible terrorists, etc.
And if this UK law sounds outrageous to you, remember that we have exceptions to confidentiality here in the U.S., too (like hospitals having to report gun shot cases, prescriptions having to be entered in databases, etc.). I don’t want to make the UK sound like the worst country in the world because they’re doing this when we have seen the healthcare sector here, too, also forced to comply with some surveillance or criminal law requirements. So maybe the conversation should be, “Under what circumstances should the government be allowed to compel doctors to disclose any patient information?”