Help not advice

The other day I joined a group of health tech people for a discussion about the digitalisation of mental health services. My short spin on UberTherapy ended in a wall of silence. A gentle NHS service manager said after an awkward pause ‘that was like taking a cold bath’. I squealed with delight at my first quote for the back cover of UberTherapy.

I’m still nervous about dipping my luddite toe into the tech waters. I’m not hostile to tech, I like my computer and enjoy my virtual work, but I am nervous about the sheer scale of digitalisation and the thoughtlessness with which switches are flicked, particularly in relation to the ethics and protections our health data deserves.

There’s a techie I follow in Twitter who is my go to for political tech thoughts, Phil Booth. Partly because he’s a bit paranoid but also because he’s very useful. So here’s something from him to you. 

From 1st July NHS Digital (which holds patient and staff data) will have access to all GP data including all of our health, and mental health, records all the sensitive stuff that makes it way onto our medical records. This data will then be disseminated – used or sold –  to third parties for purposes beyond your direct care, in the same way our NHS data is. This includes into the VIP lanes that have been exposed during the pandemic. 

It means any data held by our GPs is not safe.

So instead of saying something clever about that, this week’s blog offers you two links to allow you to opt out of data sharing.

Fill in this Type 1 form and send to your GP practice by the 23rd June.

To stop your non-GP data being used/sold Use the NHS Digital’s online National Data Opt-Out form. For Children under 13 click here

That’s help, not advice. Go to it.

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