Medact is supporting Doctors of the World’s campaign to stop the Home Office from accessing migrant patients’ personal information.

Earlier this year, the UK government and NHS digital struck a data-sharing deal that allows immigration officials to get hold of patients’ personal information in order to track down, arrest and deport migrants.

Now, fear of deportation is keeping migrants from making crucial medical appointments. Doctors of the World’s UK clinics regularly see people in urgent need, including pregnant women and cancer sufferers, who are afraid to otherwise see a doctor.

Sign the petition now to end unethical data-sharing. You can also download the ‘Safe Surgeries’ toolkit that gives GPs practical ways to circumvent the deal by keeping their patients’ addresses off NHS records. All suggestions are in line with NHS guidelines.  

What’s the problem?

The UK government and NHS Digital, which stores patients’ private data, have struck a deal to give the Home Office easier access to migrant patients’ details. This allows immigration officials to get hold of patients’ personal information, such as addresses, in order to track down, arrest and deport migrants.

This deal makes it hard for NHS staff to promise confidentiality and do their job properly. It also means that many patients in need, including heavily pregnant women and cancer sufferers, are too scared to go to a doctor.

Doctors of the World has launched a petition and a campaign against the deal, which has been covered by The Guardian, the BMJ, the Independent, and GP Online.

Doctors of the World have also asked parliament’s health select committee to investigate the deal. As a result, the BMA, the GMC, Public Health England and the National Data Guardian all recently voiced major concerns about the deal – but they have been ignored and the data-sharing continues.

Feryal Awan

Peace & Security Research and Advocacy Manager at Medact
Feryal is a multidisciplinary researcher with a background in political science, cultural studies and ethnography. She coordinates the Peace and Security programme at Medact, developing research papers and policy positions on topics such as drone warfare, child soldiers and the refugee crisis.

Read more
Feryal Awan
Share This