NHS 'Needs Strict Data Controls'

Review Found Control Measures Lacking


The body that releases NHS patient data to other organisations, such as insurance companies, has been told that it is vital to use "solid" data controls.

Sir Nick Partridge, Deputy Chairman of the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), wrote in the Daily Telegraph that companies must be transparent about how the data will be used before they can obtain it.

The comments come after a report published in June this year found that some patient data may have been used improperly, due to ineffective data-sharing arrangements.

Between 2005 and 2013, there were 588 data releases to organisations in the private sector, including pharmaceutical firms and data analysts as well as insurance companies.

"(Those seeking data) must be clear about the purpose they wish to use the information for, and the ability of their own company or organisation to uphold fair and secure processes," said Sir Nick.

"Until then we cannot supply health and care data."

The HSCIC is due to publish its progress on the recommendations made in Sir Nick's review today (November 27th).

Expert Opinion
The data and information held by the NHS in relation to its patients is a vital part of its efforts to provide the best possible, safe care.

"It is important that such details are always handled and managed in a proper manner to ensure that patients always come first and their wishes are met. Clarity regarding the use of information is key if the NHS is to meet its responsibilities in terms of being transparent regarding all of its vital processes."
Julie Lewis, Partner