Tuesday, 14 July 2020

Category » UK News

Your medical records

Do we really trust our establishment, whether public or private, to keep our records from prying eyes (let alone actually sell them on)? If not sign this petition.

38 Degrees Logo

In just two weeks, the personal medical records of everyone in England will start being sent to a central database – Care.data – to be used by the NHS to improve its services. [1] If it’s done right, Care.data could be used to make our NHS even better.

But there’s a catch: private companies will be able to buy access to our data too – private companies like Serco or big pharmaceutical companies who would love to see our NHS privatised and run entirely for profit. [2]

It’s been all over the papers and causing huge concern. Hundreds of 38 Degrees members have suggested that we work together to fix the plans. [3] But so far the organisation running Care.data – NHS England – is pushing ahead despite public opposition. Maybe they’re hoping to weather the storm.

We can turn up the pressure and force them to listen. We all have the right to opt out of the scheme. If we organise hundreds of thousands of us to opt out, we’ll show NHS England they need to change the rules and stop private companies having access to our data.

We can make it happen. But we don’t have much time. Care.data is due to launch at the beginning of March. This week the office team has been putting in place a system that could allow us to launch a huge mass opt-out. Opting out will only up the pressure if enough of us are behind it. So will you answer this simple question now: do you think we should organise a mass opt-out from Care.data to put pressure on NHS England to fix the scheme?

YES – WE SHOULD
NO – WE SHOULDN’T

Despite few people understanding the plans – we’ve all been automatically opted in to the scheme. [4] Lots of 38 Degrees members have been in touch with concerns about what will happen to our medical records once they’re on Care.data.

NHS England, the organisation that oversees the NHS in England, insists our records will be anonymised and secure. But many GPs are withholding their own records because of concerns about how they could be used. [5]

38 Degrees members have been speaking out against Care.data in droves:

“I work in the NHS and have opted out. I don’t want anyone else to see my confidential data.” – Sarah

“I am happy for my anonymised data to be used for the benefit of improving healthcare in our population. Problem is, I do not believe the current security measures are sufficient to protect my personal data.” – Alan

“While I can see the benefits of sharing data between hospitals and GPs. I don’t think it is appropriate or ethical to sell confidential information to third parties. That is despicable” – Sandra

Opting out now doesn’t mean you have to stay opted-out. Once the scheme is fixed anyone can contact their GP again and opt back in.

So, what do you think? Should we stage a mass opt-out from Care.data?

YES – WE SHOULD
NO – WE SHOULDN’T

Thanks for being involved,

James, Maddy, Rebecca and the 38 Degrees team

NOTES
[1&2]
See this article from Wired which outlines what Care.data is and why many people are concerned: http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2014-02/07/a-simple-guide-to-care-data
[3] See the quotes from members further down the email for a selection.

[4] Pulse: Two-thirds of public yet to receive care.data information leaflet http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/your-practice/practice-topics/it/two-thirds-of-public-yet-to-receive-caredata-information-leaflet/20005874.article#.UwC4Gvl_tWU
[5] BBC: GPs voice fears over giant patient records database http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-26151458

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NLP man launches Book of Poetry
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The NLP’s resident poet Jason launched his book of poems ‘Poetic Affusion’, to a packed audience in East London. Many of our regular readers will be aware of his poems published on the website, often on the themes of self-determination, governance and personal liberties.
His book however deals with many more issues related to the human condition; of romance, fear, poverty, war, and more personal feelings.
The audience was addressed by an array of speakers from life-long friends, to local councillors to political colleagues. Member of the NLP’s ruling Standing Committee, Graham Williamson, explained how they had met at a Tamil demonstration (against the Sri Lankan government’s genocidal actions in May 2009) and forged a friendship based on a belief in a peoples right of self-determination, a love of liberty and a desire to see power devolved to the people (via the Swiss model of Referendums & Initiatives – Jason had lived in Switzerland as a political refugee for a number of years). Ever since then Jason has written poems in support of the NLP’s campaigns. A number of these were read out but he concentrated on Jason’s introductions which explained the context and motivation. Yet, many of his poems were not in his first book and, as confirmed by Jason, there was plenty of material for a second. He read a popular poem entitled ‘I have a right to dream’ – for a livable nation of social justice, free of economic tyrants, and supra-national governments. He urged Jason to keep on dreaming and keep on writing!
Jason explained that much of his poetry stemmed from his life’s experiences but political or social protest was an important feature. He was prolific because he had ‘fire in his thought’ and so many issues in our complex fast moving world deserved comment. Apart from his second book of poems he was keen to publish one from ordinary members of his own Tamil community even if of a few lines each.
Hopefully, this ‘extraordinary’ man will grace our site for any years to come, inspiring and encouraging us to battle ‘against the system’ and to strive for a better nation.
A copy of the book can be obtained via Amazon (click on the right-hand bar).
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Open Up Your Eyes … And Say YES A National Liveable Wage!

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ON MAGNA CARTA DAY – SATURDAY 15TH JUNE – SIGN THE PETITION!
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The controversy over the revelation that the British intelligence services are using citizen’s private information collected by the US Government is disturbing but hardly surprising. Authority loves to collect information as it is a means of controlling citizens if need be (‘Knowledge is power’). They are not going to turn away such information as long as they can get away with it.
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The US Government is using PRISM, an information-gathering program, to spy on the Internet activities of Americans and it seems British citizens too. Indeed, President Obama says certain information is only collected on non-Americans! There is also a suggestion that PRISM may have been used to spy on foreign businesses in competition with the United States. PRISM has given the FBI and the NSA the ability to tap into the servers of nine of the world’s top Internet companies, including Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, Yahoo and Skype.
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The reaction of the establishment has been outrage. Not of the activity but the reporting of it! Our foreign secretary, William Hague, uses a hoary old formula when he says reports that GCHQ are gathering intelligence from phones and online sites should not concern people who have nothing to hide. We all know of course that once private information is collected it can end up in the hands of anyone, including those who do not have our best interests at heart!
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Apart from using other Government’s to do our owns dirty work the latter are threatening to reintroduce the Data Communications Bill. This would allow our own Government to tap into our personal ‘communications’ history. They are using the Woolwich murder as an emotional, if inappropriate (as it would not be relevant), tool to force it back into Parliament and potentially into law.

We have said it before but Civil Liberties will sooner or later be an important political issue for the public but it may be after it is too late i.e. the State will already have the powers to snoop on us all. That is why it is vital that those of us who see the danger ahead resist this creeping surveillance NOW. You can contribute to this by signing the anti-DCB petition here http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/we-the-undersigned-oppose?source=c.url&r_by=7948546. Since Saturday is the 798th signing of the Magna Carta, a symbol of a citizens rights, why not sign it then!

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Happy May Day

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‘We wish a Happy May Day to all liberal trade unionists who once represented the bulk of unionists fighting for workers rights and shall again!’

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National Liberal Trade Unionists

http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/groups/277840098977231/

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Total Democracy

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The National Liberal Party has always supported the concept of cross-party co-operation. For centrist parties (whether of the left or right), that which unites us is stronger than those (policies) which divide us.
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Since we do not believe that any single party can unite the ‘opposition’ to our political system or the ruling three parties, a ‘broad church’ cooperative alliance (not a merger but cross-party campaigning), that appeals across the political (centrist) and social spectrum, just might.
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Four founding parties (Democratic Reform Party, People’s Democratic Party, Popular Alliance and the NLP) came together at the end of 2012 to launch Total Democracy, a campaigning body that seeks to maximise our collective strength to the benefit of its members. As the opening press release said We are a co-operation of interested groups who work together on specific campaigns, you opt into the ones that match your values and ignore the ones that don’t.’ It hopes to add similar parties, groups and Independents in due course.
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This is just the start of cooperative politics and the beginning of a ‘long march’ to change the face of British politics. It is the only alternative strategy in town. Join us, join the cooperation https://www.facebook.com/pages/Total-Democracy/248865718574022?fref=ts
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