The NHS’s deal with the US tech company Palantir raises privacy concerns, but a unified database could be a medical gamechanger writes Martha Gill in an article for the Observer.
Governments have been trying to stitch together our patchwork system for decades. Billions have been lost in these attempts. However, they always run up against the same problem: people just don’t want to share their medical data, even when assured it will be anonymised. When the government aimed to build a collection of anonymous GP health records, around a million patients opted out. The latest of these attempts has closed a loophole: patients cannot now opt out. But this has enraged civil liberties groups, which are concerned about the company chosen to merge, clean and provide tools for sorting through the data.