Is the Hippocratic Oath Dead?

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June 4, 2013 by Protect Our NHS

One of our Protect the NHS Campaign Group sent me the link below earlier with a question? Is the Hippocratic Oath now defunct?. I suppose the simple answer to that is that has been for some while now, but it led me to look it up – thank God for Wikipedia which gives two translations:

What I may see or hear in the course of the treatment or even outside of the treatment in regard to the life of men, which on no account one must spread abroad, I will keep to myself holding such things shameful to be spoken about.

All that may come to my knowledge in the exercise of my profession or in daily commerce with men, which ought not to be spread abroad, I will keep secret and will never reveal.

Well the trouble with the Greeks was that they lacked foresight. Surely one of them could have predicted the arrival of Andrew Lansley 2,500 years later. Surely one of them would have realised that a government with no mandate would regard confidential information as fair game in the world of ‘let’s see who can make the most money out of illness?’. The link below takes you to a document entitled Care Data Guide for GPs. In a nutshell… your confidential data is no longer private and it is YOUR responsibility to object to it leaving your GP’s surgery. Happy with that? Oh and in case you wondered what confidential data is: “This term describes personal information about identifiable individuals who are owed a duty of confidentiality.” Happy with that too?

care data guide for GPs – DoH 13-05-30-2

The following provides the background and the definitions. Look on their works ye mighty and despair.

What is the Health and Social Care Information Centre?
The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) is England’s central, authoritative source of health and social care information. The Health and Social Care Act 2012 (HSCA) empowered the HSCIC to require providers of NHS care to send it confidential data in limited circumstances i.e. when directed to do so by the Secretary of State for Health, NHS England or when receiving a mandatory request from the Care Quality Commission (CQC), NICE or Monitor. The HSCIC will process the confidential data in a secure environment and can only release confidential data where there is a legal basis.

What is
NHS England has described the service as: ‘…a new, modern data system for the NHS in England. Known as, its purpose will be to provide timely, accurate information to citizens, clinicians and commissioners about the treatments and care provided by the NHS. The aims of the programme are six-fold: first, to support patients’ choice; second, to advance customer services; third, to promote greater transparency; fourth, to improve outcomes; fifth, to increase accountability; and finally to drive economic growth by making England the default location for world-class health services research. The underlying data within will all be collected routinely as part of the care process. For the first time, these data will be linked for patients nationwide along their entire continuum of health and social care.’The intention is to expand Hospital Episodes Statistics (HES) to form Care Episode Statistics (CES) by incorporating and linking data across all care settings. One of the first components is the inclusion within CES of primary care data.

What is the General Practice Extraction Service (GPES)?
GPES is the national primary care data extraction service managed by the HSCIC. GPES is capable of obtaining information from all GP practices in England for specific and approved purposes. GPES is the tool used by the HSCIC to extract data and therefore will be the default system by which GPs disclose data to the HSCIC for GPs can choose to use another system provided that this is acceptable to the HSCIC.

What is Personal Confidential Data (PCD)?
This term describes personal information about identifiable individuals who are owed a duty of confidentiality i.e. the information was given ‘in confidence’ and should be kept private or secret unless there is a legal basis or overriding public interest for disclosure. It includes information about deceased as well as living individuals.

What data will GP practices be required to extract for
The data to be extracted from GP systems for includes information such as family history, vaccinations, diagnoses, referrals, biological values (such as blood pressure, BMI and cholesterol with QOF exceptions codes) and all NHS prescriptions. Identifiers (DOB, postcode, NHS number and gender) are required to link the GP data with PCD from other care settings in order to analyse patient care across pathways. Free text will not be included. A full list of the data to be extracted is available in the GP extract – technical specification document.

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