PRESS RELEASE: Unprecedented health data grab; kids to be tagged for life by NHS number

In response to the Department of Health’s “pledge to reduce child mortality” [1] Phil Booth, Coordinator of campaign group medConfidential [2] said:

“Our children’s health is of concern to us all, but behind the Department of Health’s latest policy statement lies a far more disturbing bureaucratic programme.

“What its proposal boils down to is the creation of a government-led “intelligence network” on children; a lifelong data trail where children – tagged at birth by their NHS number – are processed by a system designed to make their most sensitive personal health details available to a whole range of people and agencies for multiple, unspecified “secondary uses”.

“Presented as a measure to protect children, in reality this is an extraordinary and unprecedented data-grab. While the NHS Commissioning Board prepares to begin uploading patient records from GP practices, the Department of Health is clearly coming for your kids’. Yet again children are to be used as the trojan horse to introduce an otherwise unpalatable agenda. This is the first step in a planned programme that will see the elimination of medical confidentiality for the entire population.”

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Notes for editors:

1) The ‘pledge’ and full report, ‘Improving Children and Young People’s Health Outcomes: a system wide response’, is published here.

2) medConfidential is a new public campaign fighting for confidentiality and consent in health and social care. It was founded in January 2013 by several existing organisations – Privacy International, Big Brother Watch, NO2ID, FIPR and TheBigOptOut – in direct response to the imminent and serious threat posed by radical changes in the way the Department of Health collects and passes on patient health information from NHS health record systems. MedConfidential is an independent, non-partisan organisation working with patients and medics, service users and care professionals to defend and enhance confidentiality across the health and social care arena.

For further information or for immediate or future interview, please contact Phil Booth, medConfidential Coordinator, on 07974 230 839 or