6 January 2014 — The Register
‘Junk mail’ leaflets scattered across England’s nameless households
A mass mail out of leaflets providing information about NHS England’s controversial medical records’ plans are being fired off to households across the country from today.
The government said in October it was spending £1m on the pamphlets that – as we’ve previously reported – might be easily mistaken for junk mail as they are not addressed to named individuals.
NHS England has confirmed that the Better Information Means Better Care leaflet would be posted to 26.5 million household over the next four weeks.
Patients who don’t want their medical records shared on Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s so-called care.data system are required to contact their GP surgery to opt out of that information being stored by the NHS on its database.
The leaflet is intended to inform citizens of their rights under the planned data grab.
But the effectiveness of such an initiative has already been questioned as the leaflet might appear as junk mail to any householder who only opens and reads post that is personally addressed to them.
NHS England has provided a telephone number (0300 456 3531) for patients to call if they have concerns about how the data will be used.
Some critics have argued that medical records could end up in the wrong hands where data mishaps and security blunders occur.
“The Health and Social Care Information Centre was set up as the legal ‘safe haven’ for protecting and managing patient information,” said the organisation’s medical director Mark Davies.
“We want everyone to feel confident that their information is kept private and used in non-identifiable form to improve the quality of health and social care for everyone.
“Equally important is that everyone knows that they have a choice and can raise an objection by simply talking to their GP.”