Nhs, Health, Data Protection, Health Policy

Nhs, Health

Britain to use millions of NHS patients' histories to seek cures

Britain to use millions of NHS patients' histories to seek cures

12.9.2019

Britain to use millions of NHS patients' histories to seek cures

Move to use data hubs is likely to raise anxiety about possible breaches in privacy

Pharma firms including Novartis, Janssen and AstraZeneca will not be charged for having sight of the data and will use it to help develop therapies that will ultimately increase their profits.

But it insists that all data entered into the hubs will always be strictly anonymised, to ensure that no details about an individual’s history or outcome are ever disclosed. Information gathered will be routinely “de-identified” before it is stored.

“The NHS organisations involved will, at all times, remain the data controllers and no personal data will leave the NHS”, he added.

Leading doctors and scientists involved say the hubs and the benefits that are expected to flow from them will produce faster cures and bolster Britain’s international reputation as a centre of cutting-edge research, which some fear Brexit will weaken.

The NHS has wanted to harvest and deploy patient data on a large scale to drive forward research for many years but has been constrained by controversies over privacy. For instance, the care.data project announced in 2013 by the NHS in England’s statistical arm sought to use details gathered from GPs. After rows about patients’ ability to opt out of the scheme, and fears that data would be sold to private companies, it was axed in 2016.

Read more: The Guardian

nackademus With everything that's going on my first thought was that the govt are more likely to use it to find weaknesses and exploit them. I'm sure they won't, but that is apparently where we are now, that it's even a thought that comes up. Yellowhammer Where to start with? The huge difficulties with actually anonymising data, the danger of data aggregation, the potential conflict of interest between public and private institutions. Nobody would dispute the laudable aims of these hubs but they are a minefield of privacy issues.

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