Feature Briefing

Handing NHS data to the Home Office

BMJ 2017; 356 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j911 (Published 22 February 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;356:j911
  1. Anne Gulland, freelance journalist, London, UK
  1. agulland{at}bmj.com

There was a furore last month when it was revealed that NHS Digital has agreed to hand over patient information to allow the Home Office to identify “immigration offenders.” Anne Gulland reports

What is the agreement between the NHS and the Home Office?

A memorandum of understanding published in January revealed that NHS Digital must give the Home Office information about patients it believes have committed an immigration offence.1 This includes people who have absconded from immigration control, escaped from detention, or exceeded their permitted length of stay in the UK.

What information will be shared?

NHS Digital will not be asked to share clinical information but will be required to provide a patient’s last known address, date of birth, full name, and date of NHS registration. The memorandum states that the information to be provided “falls at the less …

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