Thursday, 1 January 2015

NHS and Data Protection - Are you using the same strategies?

I was unfortunate to have an accident recently which required a visit to two hospitals. The NHS has always been an interesting visit from a Data Protection point of view. How to preserve individuals rights under the Act whilst still conducting the services required. I was really impressed with the the advancement that has been made.

I was admitted via A+E and from the moment I arrived, I was labelled (not sure that's the right term) and given a different name so that even when staff were talking about me it wasn't obviously me as they used my code name. I quite liked being "sierra" (place in the US, rather than a Ford car). Once I was admitted, I noticed a huge change from the last time I was in hospital (back in 2003), firstly no medical notes on the end of the bed. These were kept in a cabinet accessed by the medical staff on the ward. I was also referred to by my bed number when medical staff were discussing me away from the bedside I found this quite reassuring.Obvioulsy I wouldn't want to spend the rest of my life being referred to as "bed 14" but when medical staff are discussing me I was happy with it. I can see how some poeple might feel offended and to be fair to the staff they always used my name when addressing me at the bedside, so I had no problems with the situation at all.

From my experience, the NHS at this particular hospital have achieved compliance with the DPA, whilst still providing an excellent service and care for their patients. Can you say that your business is compliant with the DPA?

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