For an extra paltry £140, private insurer can buy identifiable data on NHS patients

Randeep Ramesh reports:

Private health firms, including Bupa, can pay £140 to identify potentially millions of patients and then access their health records, detailing intimate medical histories, under a new national arrangement in the NHS, the Guardian can reveal.

The records, which include sensitive information about hospital visits, such as a mother’s history of still births, patients’ psychiatric treatment and critical care stays, allow individuals to be identified by use of postcode, gender and age as well as their socioeconomic status.

On Monday the government slipped out the news that private insurer Bupa was approved to access England’s “sensitive or identifiable” patient data, housed centrally by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC). It is now among four private firms that have passed the government’s vetting procedures.

Read more on The Guardian.

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