Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Important stuff for UK expatriates.

Watching the current UK Government's scorched Earth policy from this side of the planet, I have been disturbed to find that my old NHS health records may soon be made available online for the world and his wife to gawp at. Unless of course you want to 'opt out'. There is a twelve week deadline, and if like me you aren't sure what address your 'opt out' letter went to, you won't have been notified.

For emigrants like me this is a concern. What about medical confidentiality, what about your right to a 'private life' as supposedly enshrined (and so often ignored) in EU Human Rights legislation? This walks all over it with size 12 workboots.

Now obviously I don't live in the UK any more, but I don't want every council busybody able to access my confidential medical records on the grounds that it's none of their fucking business. For example, I do not want to have to go back to the UK for family reasons only to have some clipboard wielding council official enquiring about the state of my feet for example (Incidentally, they're fine, the tendon injuries caused by walking up to 20 miles a day in unsuitable council issue footwear has cleared up nicely thankyou). Yes I know that's a bit of a reach, but people without proper medical training should not have ready access to such information as they do not have either the experience nor the knowledge to form credible opinions. Only Doctors should have that power.

Putting your health records online in the UK National Health Service's notoriously leaky and surprisingly unsecure data infrastructure is the worst idea on this planet. ID thieves must be positively salivating with anticipation.

If you don't want your personal medical record published online by the UK's NHS, you have less than twelve weeks to do so. This link will take you to the form which will allow you to opt out of the process. Mine will be filled out and my families details removed from said online travesty, providing the temporary clerk with limited English language skills they hire to do the job doesn't fuck up, which is more likely than not. However, despite my justifiable cynicism, the form goes priority air mail tonight.

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