by Tom Morton Jul 7th, 2016
What even is “care.data”?
Well, way back in 2014, the government wanted to make some major changes to our medical records – moving them from your local GP to a huge central database, which anyone working for the NHS could access.
Why would they want to do this?
Good question. In principle 38 Degrees members think it’s a good idea. It could improve the overall quality of care by generating more information on the effectiveness of different treatments. We trust that doctors, nurses and researchers would use it well.
But private companies were in line to have access too. This would place our records in the hands of companies who aren’t just running parts of NHS care, they’re also thinking about their bottom line. Together, we agreed that we didn’t want our medical records to potentially make a big buck for private companies.
We launched into action, planning a mass patient opt-out. This demonstration of people-power worried the government so much that they put the whole thing on hold.
But that’s not all. We went directly to those designing the project. Our huge survey, that 100,000 people took part in, placed the voices of the public at the heart of the decision-making process.
Did it work?
You bet. Now the government has backtracked. Private companies won’t get access to our medical records under care.data. They’re scrapping the whole idea and starting again. And together, we’ll make sure that the new version really does put patients first.