Health data is both hugely sensitive and immensely valuable.
The UK’s NHS data alone has been valued at £10bn. And our GP data is the most detailed, valuable and sensitive of all.
Now, British health secretary Matt Hancock has quietly announced a plan to take the GP records of everyone in England, and enter them all into one massive database.
He wants to make this data available to “third parties” – including private companies. This would mean incredibly sensitive data about all of us who use the NHS – including sexual health, mental health, criminal records – being pooled and shared.
Maybe this is a good idea and maybe it isn’t. Concentrate, here, just on that value argument.
OK, so it’s all worth £10 billion. Cool. How do we get the £10 billion our of it? By collating it and then charging people for access to it. For if we don;t do that then we don;t get the money and it’s not worth £10 billion, is it?