Fail NHS privacy security Summary Care Records Uncategorized

NHS Data Confidentiality #Fail

I have been on an interesting and lengthy journey through the NHS IT project and the data that is (or is not) held on me. In 2007 my wife and I lodged with the GP our objection to our medical data being uploaded from the GP practice to a central NHS database. Given the ability of National Government bodies to lose personal information I wanted to have as little as possible to be lost. This was all accepted and done, and then the Summary Care Records farce began. If you want to read more try these:
The big optout campaign
NHS Statement on opting out
Computer Weekly’s view on matters
And their report on Janet Street-Porter’s article

Frankly I think that it is more likely that either
a) an inaccurate SCR will cause my death or injury, or
b) my medical data will be leaked to someone who has no need to read it
than my being injured/killed as a result of no SCR being held.

Think about it – when you arrive in A&E you’re mostly conscious, or have conscious friends/family with you. If neither occur, then emergency life saving procedures rarely run the risk of killing you with the wrong thing, yet an inaccurate SCR (and there are reports of significant inaccuracies – I\’ve seen numbers like 1 in 10 bandied around) will be taken as Gospel and used.  I\’d much rather the well understood and exercised defensive A&E practices kept me alive.  That link also includes the observation that there is \”No evidence of safer care\”
Nor is it clear who is responsible for errors and ensuring that the records are corrected .

If you have a serious allergy (some of my family members are allergic to penicillin) then an SCR will not prevent A&E killing you with the wrong substance if you are outside the scope of the SCR (say Ireland, Scotland, Europe, Asia…. anywhere outside England & Wales in fact).
Besides, really, if you have a serious allergy or similar then wear a medical alert bracelet!

But back to the point – the website detailing what can and cannot happen with your records seems to have a contradiction at its core.
On the page detailing Access to medical records  it is stated that \”Access to a patient\’s demographic record does not require a legitimate relationship.\”
Yet, when you click on the link from the words \”Legitimate Relationship\” you go to (surprise suprise) Legitimate Relationships page  you get the statements
\”A legitimate relationship (LR) is an electronic record stored on the Spine. It details the care relationship between a patient and a healthcare professional (or group of healthcare professionals).
It is used to restrict access so only the healthcare professionals involved in the patient\’s care can access clinical information\”

So which is it?  Can anyone read my records, or only closely involved medical staff – I’ve asked, maybe you should too; and in the meantime maybe you should opt out of the SCR process too.

Fail NHS Uncategorized

If it wasn\’t so serious it\’d be funny #NHS #FAIL

The BBC report above shows the NHS in my County managed to breach Data Protection Guidelines. This came 2 days after I received my letter from the NHS saying they would put my medical details on the NHS Spine.

There were a few reasons I was annoyed to receive the letter:
1. I had already informed the NHS last year that, for reasons of trust (or distrust) in UK Government Data Security I did not want my medical details on a database open to potentially over a million NHS staff.
2. I was told in the letter I could opt out.
3. When I called the helpline I was told I had to download a form or get a copy from (place unknown) and fill it in and send off
4. When I pointed out I had already opted out, I was told that I would need confirmation from the NHS I had opted out – I questioned whether an email from the NHS domain confirming my opt out was confirmation…
5. After 3 iterations of 3 & 4 the telephone monkey gave up
6. I now have a registered complaint with the NHS team which will take 2-3 WEEKS to respond to.

I assert that if the NHS team handling the transfer of data to the Spine cannot even keep basic information about \’we are transfering you\’ confidential, then I am damn sure they won\’t be able to keep my medical records safe.

I reckon there is a secret Government lottery that the last person in the country to have some personal data lost by a government agency wins a prize. Obviously over 25m are already out thanks to HMRC, as are soldiers, prison officers, SAS members, police informers…

NHS Uncategorized

#NHS #FAIL not joined up

I damaged my back in an electrocution at school in the 70’s (need to write about that!). Since then I’ve enjoyed near permanent back pain.
I\’ve also had 5 rear-end shunts in the car and done further damage to my neck (I hasten to add that none were my fault and I was stationery in every RTA!).

So when I started getting pins and needles down my left arm about 18 months ago, I thought little of it and accommodated this new experience. But last summer it got worse and seemed to have developed into a further bout of Supraspinatus Tendonitis in my left shoulder. This is agony, and the pain relief does not really work unless you get onto a morphine drip or heavy duty codeine. So after some co-Dydramol and ibuprofen treatment on and off last year I finally went for a orthopaedics appointment. This was supposed to have been booked via “Choose and Book”, however the “computer’s down” got us and I had to go away.

TWO WEEKS later and this “instantaneous” system was still in #FAIL mode. It seems that when choose and book fails, the system reverts to the paper based system and my appointment was still not in process. So I challenged the surgery – could they not logon to choose and book, call me, and then complete the process instead of me getting an appointment I could not make and then end in a spiral down to hell?  Seems that this brilliant idea was new, and so we tried it – it worked. Hallelujah.

The appointment came and went well, and being analytical I enjoyed the diagnostic processes, and ended up with the expected referral to the physiotherapy department.

A week later and a letter arrived and this is where things in the NHS started to really show it’s #FAIL colours. The appointment was with the specialist and not for physiotherapy – or so it seemed. So I had to call them to find out; and yes, it is possible to get a follow up appointment for treatment that is not yet booked.  That\’s clever., not. #FAIL.

So I had to call the surgery – they advised me to call the physio department.

I called the number given, ask for physiotherapy and get put through. I’m not on record. Damn. However it transpired that although I called one hospital the switchboard had transferred my call to a remote physio department. Seems I HAVE TO KNOW that there is more than one department on the end of the phone line, even though the one they put me through to is in another county. The idea of checking with the caller which physio department you want is anathema.  #FAIL

So I call again, get put through to the right department, and get the answerphone and leave a message.

Later in the day I am called back, and an appointment made. But it seems to me that without my pro-active call; I would still be outside the system waiting for an appointment.  #FAIL

My point is, that for a basically fit and OK (but injured) person this is an annoyance only. For someone who is seriously unwell or injured – do they have the energy to go through these hoops?

But more importantly, if the NHS is the largest employer in the land and has seen records sums invested. WHY THE HELL IS IT STILL SO DISJOINTED???