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Wednesday 20th June 2018

NHS database is an erosion of privacy

4th May 2010

Writing in The Telegraph, Philip Johnston argues that a new NHS database is a further erosion of privacy.


Two things struck me about plans by my local NHS trust to create an electronic health record for me: the cost and the fact I was being “bounced into” something I neither want nor need.

What the saga of the NHS database epitomises is the sort of society we have become. Our records will be available electronically and centrally rather than filed away in the doctor’s surgery.

But while it may seem good use of technology, there was never any consideration that each of us having a personal health card we could update would be a good alternative.

We live in a country where our privacy is being eroded by the amount of information held about us by state and private companies.

This has been put to the test by film-maker David Bond who decided to disappear for a month and challenged two private investigators to find him with nothing to go on but his name and a photograph.

The result is the chilling documentary Erasing David, currently in selected cinemas.

Within this, Bond talks to people who have had their lives blighted because of wrong information on databases.

There is the view that "if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear" but even if this were true now, it may not always be so.

So I will be applying to opt out of my NHS summary care record, not because I am paranoid but because it has all gone far enough.


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