The news has had some items the past couple of days about the website Wikileaks and some embarrassing disclosures about the US diplomatic service. This surely must represent a warning about the use of electronic records to store sensitive personal information.
In the good old days to steal information you usually needed to get hold of paper documents which are large or use small cameras to smuggle the information out. Electronic storage of information pre internet meant you could get information, large amounts of it on magnetic tape and then as technology progressed on a small portable hard drive.
The internet has made getting information even easier for you do not now have to go anywhere near the site where the data is stored. The ability of teenagers to hack into sensitive databases means that most people with a bit of thought could get into a sensitive database.
So what has this to do with healthcare? Well think what the old, and it would appear the new Party, want to do with your GP records held on computer. The technology that is used in defence and the diplomatic service of the US is being applied to your GP’s medical records.
The paper Lloyd George envelopes have been replaced by local GPs holding electronic records on their own practice based servers which are now being replaced by large server centres holding many practices records all in one convenient place all now paid for by the State who manages them on your behalf via the local PCT.
So look at the alleged source of the leaks we believe to be a US private one of about 1.5 million service personnel in a total population of 300 million.
But please think in a population of 60 million over 600,000 NHS Smart cards have been issued and no-one knows how many have gone missing. One private out of 1.5 million out of a total population of 300 million versus one disgruntled NHS employee out of over 600,000 in a population of 60 million.
Which nation has the greater chance of a leak via the National NHS electronic sieve?
And if you do look at or leak confidential information what do you suppose the penalties are? Hardly military discipline.
Compare that with the potential rewards to a journalist or a drug company. Imagine being able to search for patients with for example erectile dysfunction and what you could do with that information.
Praise be to the Party(s) for giving the world WikiNHSleaks free of charge to the patient and, at present, without your consent.
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Northern Doc was once a blog originally written by a group of GPs in Northernshire and expressed their experiences and frustrations of working in today's NHS. The pieces were compiled at social meetings after work and published anonymously in a once free society. Following the Government's Medical Council clamp down on freedom of thought, speech and expression by doctors and our belief that the views of a few doctors DO NOT represent the views of the profession as a whole their views will now be written by and published by a journalist who has previously contributed to the blog by virtue of social ties. Any inference that the word Doc means a doctor is now purely coincidental. This is as of the 22 April 2013.