Experts say information sold on by Department of Health and Social Care can be traced back to individual medical records
The Department of Health and Social Care has been selling the medical data of millions of NHS patients to American and other international drugs companies having misled the public into believing the information would be “anonymous”, according to leading experts in the field.
Senior NHS figures have told the Observer that patient data compiled from GP surgeries and hospitals – and then sold for huge sums for research – can routinely be linked back to individual patients’ medical records via their GP surgeries. They say there is clear evidence this is already being done by companies and organisations that have bought data from the DHSC, having identified individuals whose medical histories are of particular interest.
Concerns that the data is not truly “anonymous” have been raised by senior NHS officials, who believe the public are not being told the full truth. But the DHSC insists it only sells on information after thorough measures have been taken to ensure the complete anonymity and confidentiality of patients’ personal information.