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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment C...

Recruitment Genius: Interactive / Mobile Developer

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer - Midweight

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...

Recruitment Genius: Junior Front End Developer

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...

Day In a Page

Giants Club: After wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, Uganda’s giants flourish once again

Uganda's giants are flourishing once again

After the wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, elephant populations are finally recovering
The London: After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

Archaeologists will recover a crucial item from the wreck of the London which could help shed more light on what happened in the vessel's final seconds
Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

The invention involves turbojets and ramjets - a type of jet engine - and a rocket motor
10 best sun creams for kids

10 best sun creams for kids

Protect delicate and sensitive skin with products specially formulated for little ones
Tate Sensorium: New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art

Tate Sensorium

New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art
Ashes 2015: Nice guy Steven Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

Nice guy Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

He was man-of-the-match in the third Test following his recall to the England side
Ashes 2015: Remember Ashton Agar? The No 11 that nearly toppled England

Remember Ashton Agar?

The No 11 that nearly toppled England
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks