Urgent: Appeal Campaign Title here about 10 words here

Apr 17th, 2018

NHS Digital and the Home Office

By Becca McCarthy

Imagine being so afraid of visiting the doctor, you don’t even go when you’re suffering from a life-threatening condition. That’s exactly what’s happening because of a dangerous deal to share important data between NHS Digital and the Home Office that’s turning our doctors into border guards. For one lady, the fear of her information being shared with the Home Office was so great she lost her life to treatable pneumonia rather than risk seeking help. [1]

It’s all over the news: from medical professionals to politicians, the deal is being slammed as unethical and dangerous. [2] And now a prominent cross-party group of MPs is demanding the deal is scrapped immediately. [3] But an important voice is missing: the voice of patients like us.

Doctors of the World believe doctors should be able to focus on care, not act as border guards, so they’ve set up a 38 Degrees petition asking NHS Digital to stop sharing patients’ details with the Home Office. [4] If the voices of hundreds of thousands of NHS patients are added to those of MPs, doctors and the British Medical Association, then NHS Digital will have no choice but to listen.

Will you make sure doctors are able to focus on the job they trained for years to do: provide excellent care, not act as border guards. It takes less than 30 seconds to add your name.


Doctors have an ethical duty to act in the best interest of the patients they’re helping, a duty this deal is making it impossible for doctors to keep. Conservative MP and doctor, Sarah Wollaston has called the deal between NHS digital and the Home Office “entirely inappropriate” and the Chairman of the Royal College of GPs has slammed the Home Office for “displaying a blatant disregard for the trusted and vital GP-patient relationship”. [5]

When doctors aren’t able to focus on looking after the best interests of patients, or people are too frightened to seek medical help, it puts us all at risk. Doctors aren’t at their best when distracted and worried and illnesses are much more likely to spread when people aren’t able to get them treated quickly. [6]

38 Degrees-ers across the country believe passionately in the NHS, it’s the best healthcare service in the world. But in order to stay world class, our doctors and nurses need to be able to focus on the thing they do best, making people well again. So whether it’s fighting for the funding our NHS desperately needs, or making sure the NHS keeps being able to provide care to those that need it, together 38 Degrees members fight for an NHS that cares.


[1] The Telegraph:  Stop sharing NHS data with Home Office, officials told:
The Independent: Government ‘failing to act on serious concerns about NHS data sharing’ raised by doctors:
The Pharma Times: MPs criticise NHS Digital/Home Office data sharing deal:
GP online: Home Office sharing NHS data shows ‘blatant disregard’ for GP-patient trust:
[2] See note 1
[3] See note 1
[4] Doctors of the World are an independent humanitarian organisation that works in the UK and abroad to help people get access to the healthcare they need. You can read more about what they do here: https://www.doctorsoftheworld.org.uk/about-us
38 Degrees: Stop making our NHS doctors into border guards:
[5] See note 1
[6] See note 1

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