The Department of Health has published a consultation document on proposals to strengthen controls and safeguards on the use of health and care data. The aim is to reassure people that their personal data will not be not open to misuse when it is shared, in situations such as:
“…medical research, service evaluation, developing models of integrated care, commissioning or delivering other care related public services and understanding population health and public health risks”. (p.16)
Few people deny the value of such activities. These proposals should ensure information is shared appropriately and is subject to controls which prevent potential misuse.
A number of local organisations (“secure safe havens”) will have access under strong controls to information from peoples’ personal care records; information which could be used to identify individuals. These safe havens would be accredited by the Secretary of State for Health. The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) continues to be responsible for holding identifiable data at national level.
Protecting health and care information: a consultation on proposals to introduce new regulations. Leeds: Department of Health, June 25th 2014.