New legislation will ban sale of patients’ data for commercial uses

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: (Published 04 March 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g1910
  1. Zosia Kmietowicz
  1. 1BMJ

England’s health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has said that it will be illegal for patient information that is held by the government’s programme to be sold to commercial organisations, such as insurance companies.

Hunt will put a raft of new measures on the statute books after the programme’s launch collapsed last month under the weight of sceptics’ arguments that data breaches and lack of security threatened patient confidentiality.

Hunt said that the new legislation would provide “rock solid assurance” to patients and doctors that information on patients collected by the programme would be used only where there was a clear benefit to health or care and that data on patients who opted out of the scheme would not go to the Health and Social Care Information Centre, which is running the programme.

The new legislation will also create an expert advisory committee that will scrutinise decisions on releasing data, and the information centre …

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