Intended for healthcare professionals


Disclosure of patients’ data to the UK Home Office must stop

BMJ 2017; 358 doi: (Published 28 July 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;358:j3613
  1. Koldo Casla, policy, research, and training manager1,
  2. Peter Roderick, principal research associate2,
  3. Allyson M Pollock, director2
  1. 1Just Fair, London, UK
  2. 2Institute of Health and Society, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
  1. Correspondence to: K Casla koldo.casla{at}

Immigration enforcement should never undermine the right to health

The BMA’s annual representative meeting in June called for the NHS to stop handing over non-clinical details of patients, including their addresses, to the UK Home Office for immigration enforcement purposes without consent of patients and knowledge of their GP.1 The motion brings into sharp focus the undermining of doctor-patient confidentiality and the insufficient attention to evidence in policy making. 1

The personal details of patients are being disclosed under a “memorandum of understanding” agreed last year between the Home Office, the Department of Health, and NHS Digital (formerly, Health and Social Care Information Centre).2 The intended purpose of the memorandum is to facilitate and formalise the exchange of personal data between hospitals and immigration enforcement officials.

The memorandum apparently followed the Goddard review into NHS Digital’s …

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