Atos to work on NHS care data project despite ongoing 'mess' over disability benefit assessments

Despite the Disability Minister Mike Penning admitting the reassessments were in 'chaos' Atos will roll out the controversial care.data project

Outsourcing company Atos will be managing the removal of personal data from GP records, despite question marks over the success of its reassessment of those on disability benefits.

The French IT company, which has come under fire for its role in testing people currently receiving disability benefits, will manage the extraction of patient records from GP surgeries as part of the controversial NHS data-sharing scheme.

The data-sharing scheme won’t begin until autumn after enormous pressure from groups including the Royal College of GPs and the British Medical Association (BMA).

Doctors have said patients are “inadequately informed” about the NHS's plans to share their medical records and that health officials must do more to raise awareness of the implications of the care.data project.

Under the NHS scheme, data from GP records will be linked with information from hospitals to give an idea of what happens to patients at all stages.

The data that will be extracted by Atos from GP systems includes information on family history, vaccinations, referrals for treatment, diagnoses and information about prescriptions.

It will also include data such as a patient's blood pressure, body mass index and cholesterol levels.

Personal confidential data (PCD) identifiers will also be taken, such as date of birth, postcode, NHS number and gender.

The written notes a GP makes during a consultation will not be extracted. The data will be held by the NHS Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) and anonymised by officials there.

Fully anonymised data will be made available publicly to anyone outside the NHS.Data considered to be potentially identifiable - for example where a patient in a small town has a rare disease - will only be released to approved organisations for the specific purpose of benefiting the health and social care system.

NHS England plans to make this “amber” data available to organisations outside the NHS, such as medical charities, think-tanks, data analytics companies and universities.

Private firms such as pharmaceutical companies might also be able to obtain the data under plans to be discussed next month.

An online petition, by campaign group SumOfUs.org, has received over a quarter of a million signatures from people protesting against the sale of information to private companies.

Meanwhile, a risk assessment by NHS England, the organisation behind the scheme, raises concerns about the initiative.

The document, obtained by The Daily Telegraph, states: “The extraction of personal confidential data from providers without consent carries the risk that patients may lose trust in the confidential nature of the health service.”

It adds: “The risks described include threats associated with 'cyberspace' such as hackers attempting to access the data illegally.”

Atos has repeatedly hit the headlines over “fitness for work” tests on disabled benefit claims it carries out for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Last week, Atos confirmed it was seeking an early exit from its contract with the Government in the face of persistent death threats to staff.

Atos Healthcare said it had been in discussions with officials for “several months” about ending its £500 million work capability assessment contract which is due to run to August 2015.

The company has been heavily criticised over the assessments - which are used to gauge eligibility for employment and support allowance and incapacity benefit - amid claims people are being wrongly recommended for work, or put through stressful medical interviews.

Last summer it was announced that the company, which was originally appointed by the last Labour government in 2008, had been instructed to implement a “quality improvement plan” following an “unacceptable” deterioration in the quality of its written reports

At the same time the DWP said it would be seeking to bring in additional providers in order to increase capacity and cut waiting times.

 

Additional reporting by PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there