Thursday, 30 September 2010

The Underhand Methods of Data Gathering

 click to enlarge

A friend of mine is staying with friends locally as her house is having some much needed serious structural work.  Because this work may take some months, she decided to register with a local doctor because she requires regular checkups for a serious problem.

All was well until she received the above letter, (my scan didn't cut off the right hand margin, the letter was sent with the end of the second and third lines missing), from Practitioner Services, NHS Scotland, Data Quality Team.  It was address to her and she wasn't comfortable with the questions asked.  She was more uncomfortable with what the reverse contained:

'I declare that the information I have given on this form is correct and complete.  I understand that if it is not appropriate action may be taken.  To enable the NHS to confirm that I am lawful and ordinarily resident within the United Kingdom and for the purpose of prevention, detection and investigation of crime.  I consent to the disclosure of relevant information from this form including to and by the NHS Business Services Authority, Immigration and Nationality Directorate, the Department for Work and Pensions.  HM Revenue & Customs and Local Authorities.


Signed.................      Date........'

It goes on about medical records, changes to details and data protection and confidentiality.

The letter was passed to me for my opinion and it was agreed I would telephone the Aberdeen number given on the heading to see if we could discover why they require this information when the registration with the local GP had been more comprehensive.

The conversation went like this:

Me:  Could I speak to someone in connection with a letter regarding GP registration?

I was asked for the area and another voice answered so I repeated the question.

Voice 2:  Why do you want to know?

Me:  I want to know if completing this form is a legal requirement.

Voice 2:  Mmm there must be a problem with your GP registration.

Me:  There is no problem with the person's GP registration and that has been checked.  But I'd like to know if this is a legal requirement as on the reverse there is the threat of action if the form is not completed correctly.

Voice 2:  There may be problems with the GP getting hold of the person's records.

Me:  There can't be because the form doesn't ask for the name and address of the former GP who would hold the records.  Is the recipient of this letter legally bound to complete it and return it to you.  That's all I want to know.

Voice 2: (becoming irate)  It should be returned.  What's the name on the letter and I'll see if I can find out what the problem is.

Me:  It doesn't matter what the name is, I would just like to know if this form is a legal requirement.

Voice 2: I can do nothing more for you. (Slams down the telephone).

As far as I could verify the NHS has no legal right to threaten action to anyone not completing this type of form, yet they imply, by the wording, that they do.  I find this very concerning as it would appear NHS Scotland is building up a data base under false pretences.

My friend's friend has decided she will consult her solicitor about this deceit but not so many people are in a position to spend money on legal advice and many would complete the form without question.

The reason I'm highlighting this incident is because I see this creeping intrusion into our privacy as something condoned by government.  How many more forms - of a similar design but on other aspects of our daily lives - are sent out to unsuspecting individuals, who unwittingly give personal information?

I trust Captain Ranty and Anna Raccoon will be pleased I've learned to question government departments.


22 comments:

Key bored warrior. said...

A very wise old man once said to me, "it is not the EU that is the problem, it is the little shits with the clipboards who build their little empires within it's walls." That to me will prove to be the case with this form. Some little puffed up anal retentive little shit of a civil servant has decided to harvest information, under the guise of health care, the implied threats are classic little shit syndrome.

subrosa said...

You summarise our thoughts exactly KBW but official letters like that should be against the law.

Jayce Kay said...

Heh I remember reading a quote somewhere along the lines of "when the fascists come, it will be under the guise of healthcare"

Shame I can't find it.

A very disturbing document.

RMcGeddon said...

Maybe it's just an attempt to curb 'health tourism' SR.
Or with the millions of extra patients arriving from Romania, Poland etc maybe it's trying to track down who is who.
It always amuses me when my doc asks if if I smoke whenever I visit. Sore shoulder. Mmmm do you smoke ? Why ?
I've never smoked and have told them this over and over again so it must be part of their procedure these days that they have to ask.
Maybe it will be the same with that form your friend got.

Oldrightie said...

Like many on the public payroll their jobs became at the pleasure of Labour. With more professional persons, money of massive proportions was the persuader, with the smug little clerical jobs worthies, the chance to feel smugly powerful ants was the carrot. All so very feudal but still nasty.

subrosa said...

This fits with the quote doesn't it Jayce?

subrosa said...

I don't think it's anything to do with that RM, I think it's a way of building a database with the unwitting aid of us honest people.

When you register with a doctor there's enough information of that form for any 'health tourists' to be picked out - especially here in a small community.

No this is sinister and the 'warning' makes it so.

subrosa said...

Nasty indeed OR. I was particularly angry when the woman slammed the phone down because she either didn't know the answer to my question or wasn't prepared to give it.

Clarinda said...

I'm with Key Bored Warrior on this.
The supposed good intentions of certain regulations, in the grubby hands of the village idiot, devoid of discretion, judgement, integrity and common sense, evolve into instruments of subtle oppression by the panjandrum brigade.

Here was me thinking that my visit to the Stasi Museum in Berlin with its rooms and halls of physical evidence and surveillance data etc. would never have a parallel in this country. Silly me.

You may be surprised Subrosa but I'm frequently on the phone or appearing in person to question similar 'threats', inconsistencies and baffling 'official' requirements. Not always successful but I will not give in. No doubt my file nestles alongside many others driven to equal dissatisfaction with the 'state'.

JuliaM said...

The defensive aggression displayed by the person who answered the phone shows that he/she was quite well aware of the fact that they'd been caught doing something they shouldn't....

Barking Spider said...

I'm with you and JuliaM on this, SR, the little Hitler at the other end of the phone couldn't answer the question without incriminating himself and his Big Brother snooping department.

Joe Public said...

Rosa - did you follow the 1st rule of dealing with large organisations?

Get their full name, title, & location phone number.

If they prevaricate, reassure them by advising your phone signal is dodgy & make get cut off at any moment, so it'd save them having to repeat questions.

Oh - another superb wv:- "wersa". Are you sure you don't seed them according to Blog Subject?

Derek Bennett EU-Sceptic said...

This sounds like a job for No2ID at: http://www.no2id.net/ They have been campaigning against the national NHS data-base which will give a whole array of people access to the health records of each and everyone of us. Thanks to No2ID providing a standard letter, I have written to my doctors practice, which I have been registered with for many years, to opt out of the national NHS data-base which we are all legally entitled to do – I suggest you do the same.

The No2ID web-site also has this link which many may find of interest: http://www.thebigoptout.com/?page_id=3

Elby the Beserk said...

That's appalling - but not surprising.


We have no TV. Can't stand the thing. Every couple of years, we get the standard letter from TVLA, if you have got a TV, get a license, if you haven't you must register with us as such.

I have a standard rejoinder to this.

"We have informed you that we have no TV. Should the situation change, we would inform you. Given this -

1. What is it about "we do not have a TV" that you do not understand?

2. If you consider us to be lying, then put it on paper and we will institute legal proceedings.

As you we have no contract with you, further correspondence will be treated as harassment, and we reserve the right to take legal action.

That shuts them up. For another two years, anyway.

subrosa said...

Clarinda, we'll be classed as 'agitators' no doubt. Thankfully my name and location wasn't available to those I called.

subrosa said...

Aye and I don't think it's the first time either Julia. You would have thought they would have been 'trained' how to handle the likes of me.

subrosa said...

I've asked the person concerned to involve their political representative for what it's worth BS, but it will be interesting to see what the legals say.

subrosa said...

I have it Joe, it was on the letter. :)

I need all the help I can get according to blog subject Joe so many thanks.

subrosa said...

Will try to get in touch with No2ID Derek. Thanks for the tip.

subrosa said...

Good one Elby. Unfortunately this lot are waving your right to health care as a threat.

Sheila said...

It is all to be joined up in the end - a single view of the citizen with the eCare system.

Nice to see Scotland is leading the way in something :(

"Whilst there has been much national
publicity and speculation about eSAP,
CAF and ContactPoint initiatives, Scotland
has quietly led the way in the national data
sharing agenda with its innovative eCare
programme."

www.olmgroup.com/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=710

A familiar link, sorry...

http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/Doc/924/0009673.pdf

Have plenty more on all this as some of you know.

subrosa said...

What a disgrace this all is Sheila. Yes I know you have more information on this and I hope others ask you for whatever concerns them.

Thanks so much for your links, much appreciated.

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