How else is the NHS supposed to do this?
It should be pointed out that a lot of 'data sharing' has gone on for many years within the NHS, and is required for it to function.
A couple of examples:
Diabetic Eye Screening. This is referenced in the article. For any screening programme to function it has to know who they should be screening, and where they live so they can send a letter out telling the patient to turn up. Currently that means every GP in the country posting or faxing a form to their local screening programme every time they get a new diabetic patient, the patient moves house, changes their name, dies etc. This is ridiculous, how exactly would anyone suggest that this information gets from the GP to the screening programme if not through automated data transfer? Shall we stick with the faxing of handwritten forms?
The HES, or Hospital Episode Statistics. Hospitals are paid based on their results from treating patients. For example, if a patient is discharged following surgery, and is then readmitted within 28 days, it is assumed that the discharging hospital sent them home too early. The hospital that performed the surgery and discharged them has to pay for the new admission, even if the patient is admitted to another hospital. How exactly is anyone supposed to notice that a patient is readmitted soon after discharge so the first hospital can be penalised without automated data transfer? If we stop this, hospitals can go back to discharging patients too early without worrying about losing money, or it being noticed by the regulator. People will only start to notice when many patients die. The data has to be recorded and checked to keep hospital managers honest.
Just two examples there of problems that cannot be solved by going back to paper records locked in filing cabinets. Does anyone have any idea how to solve them without any sort of data sharing?