Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656

Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Health records

May 05 2010

Dear Editor,

I read your publication and always find it very interesting and quite impressive that you challenge government policy and, indeed, some homelessness industry/machine issues.

I would like to suggest you cover one important issue, the quite worrying Summary Care Records on the NHS Spine IT system. As you may know, the assumption is that people give consent to have their NHS private medical records uploaded into a national and central electronic system. This is extremely Big Brother and has very dubious security features. Quite frankly, I would not trust them with any data as they have shown they cannot keep it safe or secure.

Of interest is the fact that 'medical professionals or stakeholders' will have access to this confidential clinical data and records. These people will include some 'social workers', pharmacists, non-clinical nursing staff and millions of NHS staff.

This information would be available to every healthcare professional you visit. There are implications for privacy around things like HIV and mental health, issues that could pose possible future problems and lead to direct or indirect discrimination.

I think you should highlight that this is not compulsory. Some useful information is and It is important that homeless people exercise their rights by visiting their GP or in other ways, and request an opt-out form there and then in order to stop the mass unauthorised upload.

Thanks and keep up your great work.

Lester, by email.

Dear Lester,

Thank you for writing in about this issue. Although we won't be advising readers to opt out, as it is a personal choice, we would like the options known. Flo will be covering this issue, as a full response to your letter, in the June issue.