Monday, 27 January 2014

NHS data sharing – great comments from the ICO

The ICO’s Dawn Monaghan has been showing us how good she is again. Her latest blog, on how changes to patient information in England could be used by NHS bodies and others, is full of insightful, pragmatic and very sensible comments on how the Data Protection Act applies to the proposed scheme.

This is just the sort of commentary that we data protection professionals (at least those at the more pragmatic end of the spectrum) like.  Crisp, short, and to the point. What a welcome change from the language of a typical Article 29 Working Party Opinion, which is evidently designed for a very different audience to that which the ICO likes to address.

Also, reassuringly, Dawn’s comments reaffirm my own views on the subject.  I trust the NHS, and am content with the view that the advantages of such data sharing among relatively sensible healthcare stakeholders overwhelmingly outnumber the risks.  This stance has not gone down too well with a certain section of my readership, but I don't expect everyone to agree with me on such an important subject. Unlike those who focus on blogging as a means of airing their objections to the issues of the day, I’m also happy to explain why I support certain initiatives, when the occasion requires.

Dawn will have more to say on these matters in a few months. Meanwhile, feel free to continue taking my advice: “Read the leaflet that dropped through your letterbox recently. And then relax.”