back to article told to tread carefully with transfer of data sets to NHS Digital

The UK government has been advised against a hasty shift of vital data sets from one quango to another as it aims to centralise medical data collection and management. Data on disease diagnoses, treatment and outcomes is a crucial resource for the health service, and the government has argued that better links between various …

  1. AndrueC Silver badge

    The government hasn't demonstrated a particular aptitude for running major IT projects on time or budget,

    Has anyone worked out what the government does have a particular aptitude for? Something good I mean.

    1. DJV Silver badge

      I don't think you needed to put the Joke icon on your post, unless you were referring to the entire bunch of Westminster twats who continuously make donkey noises in lieu of thinking.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I keep asking, but I am still waiting for a single tangible positive legacy from any of the Conservative governments since WWII. Labour can still count on the NHS for all its faults, but the blue political half just seems to destroy, sell-off orcut-back for short-term profits.

      1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

        Booting the Argies out of the Falklands?

      2. ManMountain1

        Wasn't it Labour's $11Bn project that eventually got canned?

        1. Medical Cynic


          I was involved with the specification and procurement of an electronic patient record under NPfIT. We had just got to the board meeting at which the successful supplier was to be announced. On the way to the meeting [literally - in his car], the chairman received a call from NHS Central to say that the plan had been scrapped, and a new one was to start - so all funding withdrawn.

          This set HNS clinical IT back by nearly ten years.

      3. xebon

        But remember please, Churchill instigated _all_ the planning for 'what would happen after the war was won' and, in the middle of his administration, c.1942-43, got his bods - ministers and civil servants - to work on the education act, as it became, the nhs as it became, and the planning reform laws, as they became. In truth, those are as much his greatest legacies as that other one for which he is customarily celebrated.

      4. SundogUK

        Their 'tangible positive legacy' is having stopped Labour from turning us in to a socialist shit-hole like Venezuela.

    3. Anonymous Coward

      A particular aptitude

      Has anyone worked out what the government does have a particular aptitude for? Something good I mean.

      Well, they seem to be mostly seized by inaction, what with the distractions of Brexit and trying to control the bag of fighting cats that is the cabinet etc. Just think of all the things they could royally screw up if they had the time and ability to pass more legislation. Let's spin their aptitude as "masterly inaction".

    4. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      "Has anyone worked out what the government does have a particular aptitude for?"

      Is that a trick question?

    5. strum

      You won't get through many days (or many hours) without relying on some piece of government support.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Change for the sake of it, with extra downsides

    Where data is being collected by PHE for the purposes of PHE, I see precisely zero point in giving it to NHS Digital. My partner works for PHE, and there's enough difficulty getting provider units to collect high quality data. If PHE need to go through NHSD to get the data, then we can be sure that there will be even greater bureaucratic bungling, with NHSD whining that they can't be accountable for the input quality of providers, even though they will have the relationship with the data collectors of those providers.

    The current system is far from ideal. But what's proposed will have very limited advantages, and will eliminate the relationships and local knowledge that the clinicians currently examining the data possess.

    And one final though, who are "NHS Digital"? From the review document: "NHS Digital is the new trading name for the Health and Social Care Information Centre." My emphasis, reach your own conclusion. NHSD were HSCIC, and as far as I can now tell, before that they were ISCG, and as such the failed Care.Data scheme was entirely theirs - this is a failed bureaucracy that should have been scrapped years ago, and lives on trying to grab operational data to justify its existence.

    1. Gordon 10 Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Change for the sake of it, with extra downsides

      I read NHS Digital as “shopfront to any company that will give an MP a post-parliament Directorship and a bit of cash for the boys”

      Paris because at least she only monetises herself.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They need another system to join all the systems together. It's systems all the way down.

    It always confused me why business and I've seen it happen a few times can migrate systems and data with minimal relative fuss, sure I understand that the NHS is huge but so are some of the migrations I've seen and scaling or segmentation can be done when done right.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Privacy Lite as ever, it seems

    I don't want to be told about what will happen to my medical data - I want to be able to decide what happens to it. This notion of consent seems to escape the medical bureaucracy.

    1. sysconfig

      Re: Privacy Lite as ever, it seems

      Seems the upcoming GDPR will have no bearing on either our gov or the NHS. I wonder if they are somehow exempt. Any legal eagles around to clarify that?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Privacy Lite as ever, it seems

        No, not exempt - currently (in my devolved administration) causing some seriously furrowed brows/deep thinking - bit like dominos (not the pizza) at the moment.

  5. Rich 11 Silver badge

    Not enough function creep

    The outlined approach seems quite sensible, but I'm sure they'll find a way to fuck it up in practice.

  6. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    One database to bind them all....

    That is all.

  7. Tromos

    Insufficient anonymization

    I will not grant consent for any of my medical data to be shared while a full postcode is part of the data. I understand location is useful for certain things such as tracing spread of infection, but a postal sector (postcode without last two characters) is more than sufficient for this. Given full postcode, gender and age decade, anonimity has largely gone down the plughole.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Insufficient anonymization

      What make you think that you will actually have a say in this?

      All your medical history are belong to Google DeepMind. Game over.

  8. TrumpSlurp the Troll

    Opt out good until 2020?

    So you have to redo your opt out then?

    Will they keep doing this, hoping more and more people will miss the renewal?

    1. Robert D Bank

      Re: Opt out good until 2020?

      my thoughts exactly. I opted out. End of.

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