Personal data from almost 50 million NHS patients has allegedly been sold to insurers, it was reported yesterday.
The information spanning up to 13 years of medical history was reportedly accessed by the Staple Inn Actuarial Society and combined with credit ratings as advice to insurance companies looking to improve their products.
It was suggested that calculations resulting from this information — something the report classifies as “valuable data source in developing pricing assumptions for ‘critical illness’ cover” — meant an increase in premiums for thousands of people under 50.
The news broke merely a week after government plans to collect general practice NHS records into an accessible database had to be delayed until later in the year following a public backlash over the risks of sharing private information.
Care.data is the new programme installed by the Health and Social Care Information Centre linking information from local practitioners and hospital stats.
An NHS England spokeswoman added: “No data will be made available for the purposes of selling or administering any kind of insurance.”
London Health Emergency director John Lister told the Star that whoever took this initiative has seriously threatened public health by sharing these statistics and data.
“We want to know who it was and they need to be held into account,” Mr Lister said, adding that little confidence was left in government and those in charge of NHS reform.
The British Medical Association and the Royal College of GPs have complained that the public was not being sufficiently informed about the plans.
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