The “Spine”

Posted November 12, 2006 by sprinkledis9
Categories: community, Discrimination, Freedom of Information, NHS Reform

Regarding matters discussed before on NHS data security (particularly the NHS privatisers’ plans to place our medical records on a computer database, euphemistically named the “Spine”) readers may be interested in the worrying computer-related points suggested by Ross Anderson, professor of security engineering at Cambridge University, as reasons for not wanting your medical records data to go on this Spine:

1. No “sealed envelopes” yet exist to limit access;
2. No on-line patient system yet exists to correct errors in the data;
3. Data uploaded may include genetic, psychological or sexual information;
4. It is intended to make your data available to social workers, researchers and commercial firms;
5. Your consent will not be asked before commencing processing;
6. Adequate criminal penalties against abuse do not yet exist;
7. Police and other agencies can gain access to a potentially unlimited range of information about you. There is abundant evidence that computer databases (including those of the Police, vehicle licensing and banks) are routinely penetrated by private investigators on behalf of clients which include media organisations;
8. 250,000 “smart” cards have been issued granting access to the Spine;
9. The Health Department threatens to withhold appropriate medical care from objectors;
10. Doctors say there is no necessity to design the Spine in this way.

You should check with your GP – you may well find that your data, like mine, has already been placed on the Spine by its jack-booted planners:

1. You can, by writing to your GP (and not the secretary of state who isn’t likely to see your letter), opt out of having your data uploaded to the Spine;
2. You can also opt out of having your address and contact details on the PDS (population demographics service – the NHS’s “address book”). If you don’t, then hundreds of thousands of NHS staff have access to your real name, address and telephone number;
3. Then you can also opt out of the NHS Secondary Uses Service (SUS), which stores records of all hospital treatments in the UK (including sensitive stuff like abortions and A&E treatments for drug overdoses). To do this you must invoke Section 10 of the Data Protection Act and state that the availability of your hospital records to large numbers of civil servants, etc, causes you distress.

I thank the very knowledgable members of the Greater London Linux Users’ Group (GLLUG) as well as to the beloved Guardian for advice and information.

Enough for now? I’ll come to the dear old Bexley PCT later …



Ve haf vays of makink you behave …

Posted November 8, 2006 by sprinkledis9
Categories: accountability, community, NHS Reform, respect, sanity

The somewhat National Socialist flavour of the NHS under Blair’s privatisation campaign was thrown into a limelight for me yesterday.

Responding to a question from my local medical centre (responsible to yes, you know ’em, those friends of openness and accountability: the Bexley PCT!) I told them my wish: that I did not want my medical records entered on this strange Spine thingy the New Labour Luvvies have invented. They told me “But you’re already on it – it’s been done!”

Oh, OK, I’m protesting. Angrily. These avid servants of the warmonger Blair prate of the security of my records – but there is none. Not in the real world of computing. Have you checked the whereabouts of your records?

All this was after I digested the last bit of effrontery and treachery I’ve mentioned in earlier blogs: the barging in of the PCT between my GP and any consultant to whom my GP may wish to refer me. That’s the affront, the treachery is that there must (I assume) be doctors assisting/advising this PCT whose training we have paid for and provided in the NHS.

Then last night I saw BBC2’s documentary on the expected bird ‘flu epidemic. I am not reassured.

For it looks as though by the time the next bird ‘flu outbreak is due, Blair and his loyal servants will have succeeded in privatising our once-glorious NHS into the greedy hands of New Labour’s mates, the big money men.

Otherwise, it’s quite a nice day …


Bexley PCT bean-counters

Posted November 6, 2006 by sprinkledis9
Categories: community, Discrimination, NHS Reform, sanity

Friends and neighbours who’ve commented on my last blog about Bexley Primary Care Trust surprised me just a bit. In a few different ways, too. For instance, many laughed at the evident oxymoron seen in words “care trust”.

Yup, I agree. It’s so acidly funny that these New Labour Luvvy nominees use the words in the title of an organisation supposedly placed for the people’s benefit.

They don’t care and they can’t be trusted – that is evident.

As its part in the nation-wide imposition of cuts in the NHS, Bexley PCT is attempting to breach the once-held-sacrosanct relationship between GP and patient. The right of a GP to make clinical judgements in the interests only of the patient is under attack by the bean-counters of the Blair privatisation programme.

People in our streets, here in our town, need to be aware of the threat to what they once thought was safe – aware and angry at the dishonest New Labour local representatives who knew of these attacks yet did nothing, do nothing, to defeat them.

Our overworked doctors are under attack by operators only interested in personal profit.

Basically, New Labour wants to scrap the plans made during this country’s darkest hours. Our service people returned home after the war and demanded a National Health Service – and built it and kept it.

Are the children and grandchildren of those good people going to stand by and let the Blairite vandals ruin our NHS?

For the sake of future generations, I hope not …

The Bexley PCT aims to step in between doctor and consultant – with the aim of stopping some referrals. Isn’t that what private medical care’s all about? Like in America, say? No – here if they get the chance: no money? OK, DIE.


PCT pertinacity

Posted November 4, 2006 by jackdaw
Categories: Discrimination, sanity

I recently visited my GP with painful thumb joints. She said that I should see a specialist at a hospital and she asked which hospital I would like to attend. I said the nearest one would suit me, so an appointment was arranged.

Since then I have received a letter from the hospital with a questionnaire enclosed.

A couple of extracts from the letter:

“Your answers will be completely confidential. They are not linked to your patient records. The Hospital reference and Primary Care Trust reference that have already been completed on the survey will enable Ipsos MORI to analyse survey results for individual hospitals and regional Primary Care Trusts.” (What does all that mean?)

“Please return the survey as soon as possible. The survey is folded over and needs to be opened to answer the questions.” (Good job they mentioned that!)

Is this necessary?

Surely all hospitals should offer the same high standards. Why should patients have a choice which they are probably not qualified to make?

Would not the money spent on all the letters, postage, leaflets and wages for the clerical staff and fees for the survey producers, be better spent on improving the conditions in the hospitals?


Liberal Holland

Posted November 4, 2006 by jackdaw
Categories: community, respect, sanity

It is two years ago this month that Holland had a shock.

The Dutch people are now frightened by the fast-growing immigrant quarters of their cities. In a few years’ time, half the citizens of Amsterdam will be from ethnic minorities, most of whom will be Muslims.

It seems that the Dutch are afraid that their liberal views, lax laws on drugs and racial tolerance may backfire on them. Theo van Gogh made a film showing verses from the Koran, which called for the subjugation of women, projected onto the bodies of naked girls.

Mohammed Bouyeri did not like this film. In Amsterdam, in broad daylight, he shot Van Gogh and cut off his head. This happened in November 2004.

Will this behaviour be repeated throughout Europe? It is difficult to think of a just and workable solution to the problem of immigration. It is sure to get worse. Is it possible for different races with different customs and religions to live together in harmony?

Perhaps Prince Charles should not become defender of the “faiths” when (if) he comes to the throne: maybe we should be a secular nation and ban all religions.


The Bexley PCT hammer …

Posted November 2, 2006 by sprinkledis9
Categories: community, Discrimination, sanity

After numerous comments and complaints from friends and neighbours in Thamesmead I did some research – which, with comments, is what follows.

Basically the PCT (the Primary Care Trust – yup, a Blairite baby) is trying to prevent some medical practices in North Bexley (and surprise, surprise Bexley councillors, that includes part of Thamesmead!) from referring patients to hospital consultants. A referral that in all common sense must be within the normal one-to-one doctor/patient relationship.

The PCT is insisting that its in-house doctors scrutinise Thamesmead’s doctors’ referrals before allowing them to be sent to the hospital trust (remember, in the short-sighted Blair efficiency drive and “to-the-market” crusade, that’s a separate body).

This flies in the face of our medical profession’s professional autonomy, patient confidentiality and the famous “Patients’ Charter”. Remember? That stated that a patient has a right to referral to a consultant by their GP, and a right to a second opinion. Do you remember falling for that particular load of bull?

The New Labour Luvvies loved it …

A senior practitioner in a Thamesmead practice has advised practices that those being threatened with this restriction should ensure that affected patients sign letters forbidding this interference with their medical treatments.

The local MP has been contacted. And Blair. Both actions of course expected to bring almost revolutionary change!

However, the Blairite nominees at the PCT can expect a huge groundswell of opposition from local GPs, who feel they are “under the cosh”. Of course I don’t expect them to do anything other than cover up their leader’s misshapen faffings-about, but you‘ll know that, won’t you?


The season?

Posted November 1, 2006 by sprinkledis9
Categories: community, respect, sanity

What fun it was last night, watching all the fat turkeys in Parliament NOT voting for Christmas …