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Call to share NHS records

15th January 2007

The NHS could soon share its patient records with other government departments, thanks to new legislation.

It follows a review of public services, which found services struggled to meet public expectations because of rules governing data sharing between departments.

The government will need to change privacy protection laws, which prevent agencies from sharing personal information. Campaigners are worried that confidential patient information will become widely available to other public services, and could be used inappropriately.

But the government says agencies already store vast amounts of information on its citizens, but this relates to making it easier to share across agencies, and prevent individuals and families having to provide the same information to numerous agencies.

Campaign group Liberty said the scheme would encourage fraud and corruption.

Five citizens' panels, made up of 100 members each, are expected to be established to test public reaction to the proposed changes.

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