The plan to put your health records in a computer cloud – the next expensive mistake by the NHS?

New World of NHSX doctor talking to patient once they have digitalised all patient records Pic credit: Gov.uk

NHSX, the new body behind the covid 19 tracing app,is planning a further IT revolution which will be a bonanza for multi national tech companies

Probably everybody remembers the fiasco under Labour to introduce a national computer system linking the whole of the NHS. The ten year programme which never worked properly was abandoned in 2011 after wasting some £10 billion of taxpayer’s money.

But now NHSX, the new body set up by the government in July 2019 without any Parliamentary approval and virtually no oversight outside the NHS, is planning a new national system to centralise NHS patient records.

I wrote about it last week in Byline Times following the publication of a report by the National Audit Office on NHS Digital.

Most of the press reports concentrated on the back story that the NHS was s in a digital mess and that a £8.4 billion programme under way to modernise the system had still not everything right- with 46 per cent of trusts relying on paper for patient records.

The real story was at the end of the report where the NAO raised a red flag about a plan to put everybody’s patient records in a cloud which has still not been fully worked out by NHSX.

It says NHSX is working on creating communication protocols known as Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) which would go through different layers so they could transfer patients’ data from an individual health trust or GP surgery to a cloud. This is similar to people transferring their own personal data and files on their computer or smart phone to a Google cloud.

A NAO spokesman said: “The use of APIs with a data layer, is at an early stage. It does not have a clear scope yet, so we are unable to comment on its implementation, much less how it affects the Covid-19 response. But we note that other parts of government found similar approaches to be difficult and expensive.”

The NAO also revealed that unlike the first failed computer system – which was paid out of general taxation – the new cloud service will come out of general day to day running costs – which means if it goes wrong the cash will be taken from patient services and given to tech multinationals to solve the problems.

More seriously how safe are your records when this happens. Already NHSX has had the embarrassment of computer magazine Wired discovering they had left future plans for the app – publicly accessible through Google Drive – by mistake.

Image how you will feel if your personal health records were hacked and sold on to commercial interests.Or some computer error released sensitive infoirmation. This plan needs to be thoroughly scrutinised before it goes ahead. Or it will be a waste of money and a possible security risk to your sensitive personal information.

9 thoughts on “The plan to put your health records in a computer cloud – the next expensive mistake by the NHS?

  1. Pingback: The plan to put your health records in a computer cloud – the next expensive mistake by the NHS? — Westminster Confidential | THE DARK SIDE OF THE MOON...

  2. I would question the Minister (and pity his Risk Manager) by having someone heading this up with a history of a gross data breach within Telecoms? Does’nt bode well, or transparent.

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  3. The true cost was £23 Billion

    On Tue, 19 May 2020, 10:32 Westminster Confidential, wrote:

    > davidhencke posted: ” New World of NHSX doctor talking to patient once > they have digitalised all patient records Pic credit: Gov.uk NHSX, the new > body behind the covid 19 tracing app,is planning a further IT revolution > which will be a bonanza for multi national tech co” >

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  4. Having been exposed to the National Programme for IT and use of IT within the NHS, I immediately wrote to my doctor to ensure my data was witheld and remained confidential. Although it seemed like a good idea, in the hands of the NHS, it could only have been badly handled.Thanks for the ‘heads up’; I will write to myGP to ensure my data remains confidential and is not included in this latest ‘pie in the sky’ ideology!

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  5. I was writing about this way back in 2005…..amongst other things. Result being I was anally gang raped in mental prison and a lot of other nasty stuff, still ongoing to this day. Last decade and a half been trying to get off the organ donation DB….finally got a response from some anon…apparently i have to give them my address before they’ll take me off. I don’t have one, i’m homeless and even if i wasn’t i will never consent to them having information. Lack of privacy and numerous other reasons why I will never accept any so called medical treatment from them and because of their monopoly I am pretty fucked 😦

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  6. This is shameful. I would say unbelievable, but it’s all too easy to believe, unfortunately. I’m one of the women who is having to wait to get my pension, I’m 64 so have 2 years still to wait. I am on the bread line, and can’t imagine how I’m going to get through tbe next two years.

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  7. In fairness sticking NHS records on the cloud will probably increase security, as [most likely] AWS will be responsible for the security of the infrastructure and do the hand holding to ensure the system is secure.

    This is a separate issue to the idea that there should be free reign given to tech companies being allowed to plunder our healhcare data

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    • seriously? how is putting all those eggs in one basket and then making it accessible on the internet INCREASED SECURITY? You obviously have no idea what you are talking about…..the only people who aren’t allowed to access them are the people who’s records they are! believe me, i tried!

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