Britain’s Surveillance State – #StopSharing Patient Information
By TruePublica Editor: It makes little difference whether you agree or disagree with the fundamental idea that data should be private when it comes to tracking down undocumented or illegal immigrants in Britain. The point is, where is all this leading to. Liberty and Doctors of the World have a point here when considering patient data as this is just one more cog in a huge new surveillance state machine that now affects us all whether we like it or not.
By Martha Spurrier -Director of Liberty: Liberty, the civil liberties and human rights organisation has joined Doctors of the World and the National AIDS Trust in calling for the Government to #StopSharing patients’ data with the Home Office.
It was recently revealed that the Home Office has forced the NHS to grant it easier access to patient information. This means immigration officials can use patients’ personal details to track down, arrest and deport undocumented migrants.
This is a serious breach of patient confidentiality – and one that NHS staff weren’t even consulted on.
It makes some of the UK’s most vulnerable people too scared to get the healthcare treatment they need. Medical charity Doctors of the World – who Liberty and the National AIDS Trust are partnering with on this campaign – regularly sees pregnant women, cancer sufferers and many others in urgent need who are avoiding the doctor for fear of deportation.
And this new tactic is just the latest expansion of a wider plan. This Government has made border guards of teachers, landlords, bank clerks and now doctors – all as part of a misguided and counter-productive obsession with creating a ‘hostile environment’ for undocumented migrants.
Fostering fear of the doctor in this way is a whole new dangerous and irresponsible low. It puts the health of the most vulnerable in society at risk, including children and victims of trafficking and torture.
It’s time ministers listened to the experts and stayed out of our hospitals.