The recent announcement that data from individuals’ GP records would be shared with researchers inside the NHS – and potentially outside – was controversial.
In this week’s Scrubbing Up, Prof Peter Johnson, Cancer Research UK’s chief clinician, says while the decision is up to each of us, population data like this is crucial for making progress in tackling diseases.
Patient information is a very controversial issue.
We live in an age when all manner of information about us is collected and shared all the time and, understandably, everyone worries about who is looking at their data and what they’re doing with it.
But using our records for medical research is not about some sort of free-for-all with people’s data.
It is about doing the right thing and using the information that we collect in the NHS to benefit patients in the future.
We need the proper safeguards, and I am as sceptical as anyone about the idea of selling the data outside the NHS, but that is not a reason to discard the whole idea.
The Health-Care Survivor’s Comment
Even if I could be convinced that pharmaceutical companies and others were likely to provide a real answer to disease, I believe that the mass sharing of personal information, and medical records, is something that must be resisted by anyone who believes in the freedom to choose real, natural, health care.
If you wonder why I am so strongly against mass data sharing, remember that the records under consideration here, are the same ones that David Davis MP has said will also be made available to the police, who, as far as I know, are not involved in meeting the scientific or social challenges of overcoming disease, illness or any medical condition.
Please let me know what you think about this issue.