Computer Database - Part Of Big Brother's Evil Plan
For some years now the NHS has been quietly planning a huge
database designed to contain private medical information about every citizen in
the country. (Though, naturally, I suspect that the private medical information
relating to important politicians and their relatives will be excluded on
An organisation called Connecting for Health is
responsible for upgrading the NHS computer system. It's the biggest civilian
computer project in the world. It is utterly improper, unethical and
unnecessary. It's one of Tony Blair's pet projects. (So there is, I believe, a
hidden agenda. Which I will come to in a moment.) And it is doomed to inglorious
The bureaucrats claim, of course, that your private and personal
medical information will be well protected from snoopers.
There will be
firewalls to stop hackers finding out how many times you've been depressed or
infected with an embarrassing disease.
Do the bureaucrats
really believe that they can create firewalls which will keep hackers
Hackers have even got into the Pentagon's top secret computers.
There is no computer system in the world which cannot be hacked into. Announcing
that a system is super-safe merely provides hackers with a
But that's not the problem.
The problem is that
when your private and personal medical records (the things you told your doctor
in confidence) are put onto the computer, nothing about you will really be
The NHS has already registered 298,973 staff to access
your medical records.
There will be more.
Pharmacists (and the assistants working in the chemist's shop) will
have access to your information. Hundreds of thousands of clerks and
administrators in the NHS will have access to your personal and private medical
history. Every secret you have shared with your doctor will be there for
everyone to read.
Social workers, policemen and local authority workers
will all demand access to the computer.
And they will get it.
every policeman in the country can read about our depressions, our irritable
bowel syndromes and our miscarriages then our last vestige of privacy will be
It means that eveyone you meet or know who works
for the Government (and everyone you meet or know who knows someone who works
for the Government) will know everything that is in your medical records.
Everything you've ever told your doctor. Everything you ever tell him in the
Today, many doctors don't take confidentiality seriously. Does
anyone seriously expect policemen and social workers to regard confidentiality
GPs have already expressed disquiet.
A poll showed
that a majority of family doctors fear that the system will be vulnerable to
hackers and to public officials who don't need access to your private
information for your benefit.
What is left of the doctor-patient
relationship will disappear.
More and more people will refuse to discuss
delicate issues with their doctor.
I feel very strongly about
I resigned as a GP over twenty years ago, when NHS bureaucrats
tried to force me to write confidential information about my patients on sick
notes. I refused and was fined heavily for doing so. It seemed to me that this
was a vital matter of principle. Patients are entitled to believe that what they
tell their doctor in confidence is, and will remain, private. I felt that by
putting diagnoses on sick notes (likely to be read by heaven knows how many
people) I would be betraying that confidence. And so I resigned from the NHS and
became a full time writer.
Patients who want to stop all this happening,
and who don't want to have their personal medical history put onto the
Government's computer, are to be told that they must write to their GP.
But, and here is the killer, GPs have been told by Sir Liam Donaldson
(the Government's Chief Medical Officer) that they must forward all letters from
patients who want to opt out of the central NHS computer system.
letters must be sent on to Patricia Hewitt, the Secretary of State.
your private letter to your GP must be forwarded (with or without your consent)
to the Government.
So that they know who you are.
And where you
Presumably so that they can give you a black mark.
knows, a midnight visit from the Gestapo.
This whole wretched project is
costing £20 billion. (That's the official figure. It's probably double that.)
That's £333 for every man, woman and child in Britain. Billions spent on a
computer system which we don't want and which probably won't work and which will
destroy what remains of our privacy.
The new system has already caused
110 major computer incidents in hospitals in just four months. Lives have been
put at risk after essential hospital computer systems crashed as a result of
And, of course, there have been errors.
one patient was wrongly listed on the computer as being an
Wouldn't that money be better spent on getting rid of long
waiting lists, dirty wards, single sex wards and so on?
What is this
computer system for?
Doctors don't want this super register of patients
There is no logical medical need for it.
It will mean
an end to patient confidentiality.
It will create problems rather than
So, what's the hidden agenda?
It's not difficult to
Our medical records are being put onto this new NHS computer so
that the Government can feed all the information onto our new Identity
They have already said that identity cards will contain medical
And this is how they plan to do it. The information from the
NHS computer will simply be fed straight into the ID card system.
stop this now.
Tell your GP that you do not give him permission to put
your medical information on to the NHS computer.
And add a PS telling him
that he does not have your permission to send your letter to the
We have to stop this erosion of our
Copyright Vernon Coleman December 2006