The NHS is planning on adding the health records of millions of people in Britain to their digital database which could then be shared anonymously with universities, pharmaceutical and technological companies. The only way of preventing this from happening if you so choose not to participate is by formally objecting by June 23 at the latest.
Personal medical data used for profit?
The NHS has claimed that they have been trying to make the general population aware of their plans to share people's personal data since 2018 when it launched a poster campaign all across hospitals and their own website.
As your medical data will be used collectively to help researchers carry out studies looking into novel and current-day diseases, the only way of opting out is through the NHS' app—launched in 2018 as a way to facilitate booking appointments and access advice on health conditions.
Many are now concerned that this collection of personal information will be misused and exploited for profit but the NHS has stressed that the more people share their data the more progress will be made medically.
Essential to fight diseases
Case in point, the battle against the coronavirus that has plagued the world for the last 15 months, which is finally more or less under control in certain countries, would have never ended had it not been for the vital use of data-collection.
In the UK particularly, the NHS was able to collect the data necessary to track the amount of people being infected, hospitalised and dying from COVID-19. It would have also been nearly impossible of knowing how and at what rate the disease was spreading otherwise. Pharmaceutical companies would have also had a harder time coming up with the appropriate vaccination to combat the virus. In this sense, personal information on people's symptoms and their side effects has been essential in the against the eradication of the coronavirus.
As a result, the NHS explains that in order to be able to make other medical breakthroughs, epidemiological studies that rely on personal medical data is needed.