The nation is building a new health database which is supposed to help hospitals share information, but David Davis MP, a former shadow home secretary, told the Guardian he has established that police will be able to access the health records of patients when investigating serious crimes even if they had opted out of the new database.
Previously police would need to track down the GP who held a suspect's records and go to court for a disclosure order. Now, they would be able to approach the new arms-length NHS information centre, which will hold the records and they will not need a warrant.
Records will include mental health conditions, drugs prescribed, as well as smoking and drinking habits – and will be created from GP records and linked to hospital records. The Tory government claim that the incoming system will bring huge benefits to care and research. However it is also turning over private data to private health insurer Bupa and four private firms that had been cleared to access "sensitive" patient data.