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First Thoughts: Government data: Copies of more than medical records?

The consultation is supposed to be about using data to help citizens; but the proposals and principles are about how Government thinks it can do one thing to help all citizens – that seems unlikely.

Yesterday, the Cabinet Office opened their consultation on copying everything but medical records. It is a consultation, not about data, not about citizens, but about Government. It’s officially about “better” use of data, but “better” in this term seems to mean “more”, not “improved”.

As care.data was about NHS England not patients, the same #datacopying mistake has been made.

In short, this consultation is the latest step in the ongoing data debacle of Government. Rather than suggest learning the lessons of care.data, most of it doubles down on repeating the failures by institutions and their shared worldview of an office near the Thames.

We find out within days what the Caldicott Review will recommend, and see where the NHS thinks this should go. If the Cabinet Office were accurate about having worked closely with DH, then this consultation does not look positive. 

A blog post by the Data Sharing network will appear shortly (we’ll update this post) on how the process reached this point.

The relationship to medical records

At the launch meeting for the consultation, the Cabinet Office said that the lessons of the Caldicott Review of consent had been considered, and this consultation was working with the Department of Health team. I can only hope that Cabinet Office paid as little attention to what DH were saying as they have paid to others.

The NHS number makes an oblique appearance, in part 3 below; although it’s only in the original consultation document if you know that it’s there.

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