Legal Victory Protects Patients from NHS Data Sharing
The data-sharing Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between NHS Digital, the Department of Health and the Home Office, which gave the Home Office access to confidential patient information to aid immigration enforcement, has been scrapped following a successful legal challenge.
The MOU was written in secret before being published in January 2017. Migrants’ Rights Network (MRN), represented by human rights organisation Liberty and Matrix Chambers, took legal action against the arrangement because it violated patient confidentiality, discriminated against non-British patients and left seriously unwell people fearful of seeking medical care.
Following concerted campaigning efforts, an intervention by the Health and Social Care Select Committee and under pressure from the legal challenge, the Government announced in May 2018 that the data-sharing deal would be suspended, but that it would remain in place. NHS Digital has now confirmed to the court it will completely withdraw the data-sharing deal.