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    BBC News: Everyone ‘to be research patient,’ says David Cameron

    BBC News reports on the issue of medical privacy in the UK:

    Every NHS patient should be a “research patient” with their medical details “opened up” to private healthcare firms, says David Cameron. The PM says it will mean all those who use the NHS in England will be helping in the fight against disease.

    He hopes the result will be that patients get faster access to new treatments and Britain’s life sciences sector will become a world leader.

    But critics say commercial interests are being put ahead of patient privacy. […]

    The Prime Minister said it was “simply a waste” to have a health service like the NHS and not to use the medical data it generated.

    “Let me be clear, this does not threaten privacy, it doesn’t mean anyone can look at your health records, but it does mean using anonymous data to make new medical breakthroughs.”

    Patient Concern said it had real worries about the proposal to make patients’ medical data available to private firms as the information would include postcodes and age profiles which would be possible to trace back to the individuals concerned. […]

    “Our records should not be passed around by the Department of Health as they see fit or sold to private companies without our permission[,” Joyce Robins, Patient Concern’s founder, said.]

    Data should only be made available on the basis of patients’ “informed consent”, she added.

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