Medical details not safe any longer

Today I got a very convincing phone call from the ''NHS Pharmacy initiative Scheme.''

I kept them talking, but gave them no affirmative details of my medical condition. But then I had no need to, as they seemed to know all about it.

In the end I asked them where they had got my details from, but they declined to say.

I rang my local surgery, the manager is on holiday and no one would discuss it, and was told to ring back when the manager is back.

But I was always made to believe that my medical records were private. Not so it seems.

Even I have difficulty getting hold of them, so how does some Private individual find out?

Has anyone else encountered this?

I am very annoyed about it, and once I get my teeth into something I will not let go until I find out the truth.

17 Replies

  • Hi owdsod, you are right about your medical records/history it is supposed to be confidential. However this info can be shared with varied departments that deal with health issues. I have experienced info coming out amongst persons who should not have had access to the info in the past so no longer worry what comes out which allows me to discuss things freely with who ever. But feel sore the same as you about the fact that to access my records I have to pay and they still have the right to withhold access if the dr feels the info could harm the patient or a third party, which means there is little point in seeing the records as it is only what the dr chooses to let you see.But no one else should be seeing it without your permission. I agree this as changed a lot since computerisation so is safe to presume medical issues are not as confidential as some might like and even less so if you have a mental health record.As you see your experience is not unusual

  • Thankyou Katieoxo60, you made me smile, I wondered if you give a meal ''Man appeal'' Remember the advert from the 50s?

    I realise that many organisations have some of our medical records as they need them to process certain things. However, what annoys me is someone who cold calls me on the phone (even though I signed up to the telephone preference service) They tell me details about myself, and they refuse to tell me where they got the Information from.

    It dilutes the trust we have in anyone, and as I do not know where the information was got, means that I now mistrust everyone.

    Patients notes were all held at one time on paper, and were then very difficult to access.

    (When I was a night Charge Nurse I often had to go into dark cellars of old Hospital archives to retrieve notes that were almost impossible to find. Now it seems they are at anyones finger tips who can operate a computer.

    By what I have found out, these people are not exactly who they say they are, and have nothing to do with the NHS. Scary or what?

  • Well Owdsod, I agree with you, information has become freely available at the press of a key as you say. Plus mobile phones are linked as well if you have one, must admit I object to cold calling apparently they buy our telephone numbers and info. The NHS is now run like a business so maybe that's how some basic info gets out???? The current system is scary as security of info is highly doubtful. Sad to say I am another one who has joined the ranks of those like yourself who have lost trust in the NHS , both in respect of info and also in respect of supplying medical needs. But I haven't given up on them, I still champion the cause to save NHS services especially for older persons who have no provision to go else where. But the issues are a cause for concern don't you think????

  • PS Owdsod, Yes I do give a meal "man appeal" that's why I am known as katieoxo, I was a chef/cook for NHS, social services, the city council plus several private company's in my younger days, before the invention of microwaves, take aways and ready meals.(smiles)

  • Unfortunately Microwaves have a lot to answer for. there is nothing quite like a proper cooked meal served on a hot plate (not thrown) by dedicated chefs and cooks.

    I feel so sad now for many Patients who's meals can often be to say the least disgusting. I thank you most sincerely for your input.

    I wish you all the best. May your OXO always crumble!


  • Thank you trevor

  • Contact your CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group ) and ask for the Head of Medicines Management or Head of Primary Care, they should know if the scheme is legit. Each local authority area has a CCG eg Liverpool CCG, Doncaster CCG etc.

  • Medical records were never private. They are restricted. Go for a job with IBM and some other large companies you will find that you have to give them permission to access your medical records as part of their condition of being offered employment with them. The weekend cannabis smoking you discussed with the doctor is available for the company to see. I know of someone who lost a job offer because of this.

    There is I think a 1986 Police Act which gives the police full access to your medical records.

    Have a accident where you need to sue someone for an injury. Your medical records are on display in a court of law and available for solicitors and barristers to study.

    Under certain conditions council employees have access to your records. There was an incident where an employee of a UK city council was trawling medical records for information to give to parties to make use.

  • Restricted maybe to certain parties and if you have to give permission that is OK but I presume by giving permission that it is limited as to whom is allowed to troll those records not every Tom Dick and Harry in the company. Likewise Records may be used in other certain curcumstances.

    Even the patient cannot access their records so easily.

    but I still believe being used by a cold caller who will not tell you from whom they got the files are breaking the law We shall see I have now put it with NHS Fraud department to see if they can throw light on the matter

  • Well done owdsod, hope it does uncover what is happening.

  • I shall keep posted on this, because I believe it to be an issue that not only affects me, but could affect many other people who may just give up their details to these people.

  • Hello Owdsod,I too will be very interested I the outcome of your query,please keep us posted ,thanks.D.

  • Owdsod, I like the approach, but my understanding is that NHS (Counter) Fraud is only interested in money.

    Suggest either the CCG in the first instance, the scheme may just be legit and sanctioned by the NHS, as my post above. And/or the Information Commissioner as a data protection issue if you are still unhappy with the CCG's answer.

  • I realise what you are saying, but I was passed to this from the CCG, who passed me onto NHS England, who passed me on to the fraud department. To be honest I expect nothing from them, and certainainly no explanation. the whole area is such a mass of administration it would probably takes years to find the right department, If the complaint ever arrived there.

    But it gives someone something to do I imagine.

  • Welcome to the world of snooping Britain. If you ask me the only sure fire way of ensuring confidentiality these days is to keep your mouth firmly shut and tell no one anything and never write anything down. No texting, no internet browsing, no telephone conversations. Don't speak when there's a smartphone in the room, I'm convinced that google if no one else, is listening to every conversation you ever have without even having the phone in your hand. Trust absolutely no one. What a sad and untrustworthy world we live in.

  • During the Last war they used to say ''Careless talk costs lives''. Nowadays, and I have to entirely agree with you, I believe there is no such thing as privacy anymore.

    It is not the World that is sad, but the people within it. We have all allowed it to happen.

  • That is scarey! Anyone remember the old paper notes? Well I was given mine to hold once to give to the doctor and took the opportunity to look through them. I had had a breakdown as a teenager and bears no relationship to my life today but was worried medics would get the wrong idea about me. So I ripped all the relevant pages out :d Glad I did x

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