I’ve just heard, quite by chance, that our medical records are no longer going to be sacred between doctor and patient. They will soon be available, in identifiable form, to anyone able to pay the price. The treatment of the general public as a collection of walking commodities is now becoming quite blatant. I heard this information on a certain talkback radio station and, after listening in for around 30 minutes, was reasonably convinced I wasn’t misinterpreting what was being said.
Apparently, we were all (in England) supposed to receive a leaflet in January 2014, explaining the change and that, if we wanted to opt-out, we were to talk to our GPs. This isn’t actually true, you can send them a letter. Visit this website and follow their instructions.
But what irks me is that this is an opt-out arrangement. I don’t like this idea of being automatically opted-in to everything the government dreams up, leaving the onus on me to keep aware of what’s going on all the time. Don’t tell me this is about efficiency or that no-one would sign up if it were opt-in.
Yawn. I neither believe it, nor do I think those arguments are even relevant. If the government didn’t think anyone would sign up to an opt-in arrangement, it probably means there’s something terribly wrong with it. Just as there is something terribly wrong with this. I can’t sit back and expect (quite reasonably) that living in a relatively safe country means that nothing particularly bad is going to happen. This is the equivalent of pulling my pants down in public.
The system should be opt-in. By arranging a subtle opt-out and not really telling anyone about it, it’s become underhand and duplicitous.
Be warned – this is not the same as the very similar NHS opt out that many people took part in not long ago. If you opted out then, you have to opt-out all over again. Do not fall into a false sense of security. You need to keep on the ball.
You also need to take this pretty seriously. Anyone who can make a case for “needing” your medical data will be able to buy it. That could be an insurance company. Is there anything you might have told your GP 10 years ago that they may have noted down and you might not want your insurance company to hear about? Think about it. If you’re in any doubt, you might want to opt out.
The time to act is limited. Get on the case. You can always change your mind later, but you won’t be able to shut the barn door after this horse has bolted.