§ Mrs. Renée Short
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proposals he has to guarantee confidentiality of medical information held in hospital computers when the Data Protection Bill becomes law; and under what circumstances patients and doctors will be able to check the use to which information held by a health authority is put.
§ Mr. Waddington
The provisions of the Data Protection Bill will apply to personal health data as they will to any other personal data. Any person who controls the contents and use of automatically processed personal health data will be required to register as a data user and to comply with the data protection principles set out in Schedule 1 to the Bill. The use to which personal health data are put will therefore be set out in the register which both patients and doctors will be able to inspect.
The Bill will not affect existing arrangements within the National Health Service governing the use and disclosure of personal health information. But the Government recognise the fundamental importance of maintaining the confidentiality of health records, and the Department of Health and Social Security is discussing with representatives of the health professions how those arrangements might be put on a more formal footing.