David Cameron has announced plans to allow private companies to view our health records, and has vowed to reduce 'red tape' that governs research in the NHS. He is of course, wrong to do so.
David Cameron has unveiled plans to allow private companies to access health records.
He plans to make all of our health records available for scrutiny by private companies who will then do with that data what they see fit. The records will be minus names, but will contain all information about our illnesses, and the care and treatment we may have received.
The motivation for this is to allow Britain to become world leaders in life sciences. A government spokesman said, “These changes will not only boos the industry, but also potentially give the NHS early access to new, innovative drug treatments”.
It is part of a wider plan to relax what he calls, the ‘excessive regulation’ of research within the NHS.
As someone who has conducted research in the NHS, I found the process of gaining ethical approval an arduous one to say the least. However, I choose to refer to them as ‘safeguards’ rather than regulations. They are not there to piss researchers off. They are there to safeguard patients and staff. There is a lot of fantastic research done within the NHS and I hope this continues, but the relaxing of research safeguards just so private companies can come in is a disgrace. The principles of protecting patients and their records is paramount and they should not be weakened.
As well as the ethical issues around the government’s ridiculous plans, the other main issue for me is, who the hell gives them the right to allow any private companies to view my health records, whether my name is included or not? It is the fundamental issue of my records, my choice. Or it should be.