NHS 111 workers may get access to private medical records

3797160719_337b4742e7_bThe government has announced proposals that would provide thousands of unqualified NHS 111 workers access to our private medical records, posing a massive risk to patient privacy.

Patients have a right to know about any changes to how their medical records can be accessed and deserve clear and transparent information about how they will be effected. The Department for Health has yet to announce how they will make patients aware of the proposed changes and we are yet to see whether they will write to every patient in the country as the last government did about the Summary Care Record.

When asked about concerns about unauthorised access to medical records and the impact on patient’s privacy and confidentiality, the Department for Health has said that call center workers will have to seek permission from individual patient’s before they access the records. However, our research has highlighted that data protection regulations, which in theory should protect patients from having their information accessed unnecessarily, does not stop serious data protection breaches occurring, with instances ranging from sharing patient’s information on Facebook to looking at each other’s medical records.

If trained medical professionals who have a duty of care are falling foul of data breaches, can we really rely on the assurances of the Department for Health that NHS 111 workers, with as little as 2 weeks training, should have access to highly sensitive and private medical records?

The proposal by the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, comes at a time when the Government is creating a database of medical files to enable NHS staff to more easily share patient information. Barely a week seems to go by without a new raft of people being able to access our most intimate medical details yet patients continue to be denied basic information about what is happening or given the choice to opt-out.

The NHS has been accused of not doing enough to ensure confidential patient information is protected, and clearly putting that information into even more people’s hands could be a recipe for disaster. The Department for Health must provide plans for far more stringent safeguards to ensure our medical records are protected before these proposals are even considered being rolled out across the country.

Posted by on Sep 11, 2013 in Data Protection, NHS, Privacy | 6 Comments


  1. anon.e.moose
    11th September 2013

    yeah nothing like having the person who needs to know your condition denied access to key information.

    NEWSFLASH everyone in ANY company has access to the relevant info.

    ‘unqualified’? what a red herring… if they were not qualified they wouldn’t be in the job.

    DPA is part and parcel of any job.

    But sure let’s have the ignorant masses decide whats best for company policy on something they know nothing about. If the public know best then why do they bother with doctors.

  2. Heather Peat
    11th September 2013

    My reply to ‘anon.e.moose’, what a load of rubbish..

  3. tim
    12th September 2013

    ‘anon.e.moose’ 111 call takers are unqualified they have absolutely no medical knowledge whatsoever and are following a protocol. They don’t need to know when you last had a smear or a chlamydia test, or what antidepressant you take, or that your cross dress. They don’t need to know this but they will.

    If someone wanted access to your complete medical record all they need do is apply to work for 111 and 2 weeks later have access to it all. There is no such thing as confidentiality any more.

  4. not again
    13th September 2013

    Because of repeated data breaches within the NHS I have opted out of almost everything that is NHS. If 111 are going to have access to medical records then I will opt out of the NHS completely. It has cost me a fortune over the years as I have had to go private.

    111 advisers do not require access to our medical records and nor should they have access. This government is hell bent on removing any privacy and confidentiality we have. It is Big Brother, in the widest sense, gone completely mad.

    We should demand for our records to return to paper records. That way they cannot be shared in the ways that are fast becoming the norm by a government that does not know about or care about confidentiality.

  5. Locksmith Wheeling
    13th September 2013

    Is there a single person who is comfortable with this. The country is being run by imbeciles.

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    […] NHS 111 workers may get access to private medical records […]