Integrating DWP requests for medical information into a new digital service
From the govt’s ‘Digital Marketplace’ ... an opportunity to tender for a contract to integrate DWP requests for medical information into a new digital service for administering DWP Health-related benefits:
Why the work is being done
To improve the accuracy and efficiency of administering applications to DWP Health-related benefits.
To build on our ‘Discovery’ research that’s identified current and emerging technologies to support interoperability between healthcare organisations and test the viability of automating / digitising the current manual processes that surround information requests between DWP and NHS.
Our Discovery research proved we can improve the efficiency and accuracy of this process by automating routine requests for medical information (i.e. GP details, conditions diagnosed, hospital stays etc) and providing a digital route for ad-hoc requests (how the health condition affects the patient on a day-to day basis)
Doctors have warned that benefit claimants could be deterred from accessing healthcare after it emerged that the government is to start accessing medical records as part of the welfare assessment process.
The DWP is in the process of creating a system to more quickly access people’s health data to help them to determine how much welfare support they are entitled to, including automating “routine” requests for medical information.
GPs and charities said the plans resemble the controversial data-sharing scheme between the Home Office and the NHS, which prompted outrage after it emerged some immigrants were subsequently afraid to access healthcare, ultimately forcing the government to end the policy.
Surely this breaches the patient-Doctor confidentiality requirement? Even though I have nothing to hide, I would definitely NOT confide something in my doctor if I knew the DWP (or any other body for that matter) may have access to that information.[ Edited: 1 Mar 2019 at 11:09 am by Benny Fitzpatrick ]
When you claim ESA, PIP or indicate you have a health problem when claiming UC you are asked to give consent for the DWP to obtain information from your GP or other doctors treating you but that is optional. If you don’t give consent it would be quite improper of them to use this scheme to obtain your medical information.
However under the current system the doctor decides what information they will provide to the DWP (for example, when they return a ESA113 form). Exactly what information this new scheme will provide is not entirely clear to me save that it doesn’t allow the DWP to make a wholesale grab of the claimant’s entire medical records.
More on this, from Pulse:
The chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners said: ‘GP patient data is vital to ensure our patients receive the best possible care when they access healthcare. We do not hold our patients’ confidential data to help other organisations check their eligibility for welfare, their immigration status, or any other function not related to their health and wellbeing.’
‘We are doctors, whose first interest is the care of our patient: we are not border guards, and we are not benefits assessors,’ she added.