The first session of the NPC Annual Convention finished on a high today (8 June) with welcome news of a delay to NHS Digital’s controversial plans to extract all files from GPs in England.
The National Pensioners’ Convention has been campaigning with a coalition, led by tech justice watchdog Foxglove to halt the hurried ‘grab’ of our health data by July 1 without full consultation.
However, Health Minister Jo Churchill announced in the House of Commons at lunchtime that implementation of the ‘GP data programme’ would be pushed back to the beginning of September. She said ministers would use the extra time to "talk to doctors, patients and charities to strengthen the plan... and ensure data is accessed securely."
Jan Shortt, NPC General Secretary commented: “While this is a great start to our month of NPC Annual Convention webinars, we give the news of the government delay to their GP data programme a cautious welcome.
“Along with our partners, we will take the opportunity to watch carefully what happens over the next two months. Given the government’s lack of transparency so far on this mammoth data phishing exercise, we will be scrutinising carefully what they do next in terms of truly consulting with us all on what happens to our very personal health records.”
This morning, human rights lawyers Cori Crider and Rosa Curling of Foxglove told the NPC Annual Convention opening Rally that our personal health records could be worth as much as £10billion to private enterprise. Despite NHS Digital’s assurances that the information would be coded and ‘pseudonymous’ there are genuine concerns that this would be easy to unlock and share with private enterprise, including US pharma companies.
The NPC joined forces to stop the data grab with a non-profit coalition including Foxglove, Just Treatment, Doctors’ Association UK, all the Citizens, openDemocracy, and David Davis MP. Wed sent a legal letter to the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS Digital, warning that unless the government pause the GP data extraction, and seek meaningful patient consent, the group would seek an injunction to halt the scheme.
The option to take legal action remains, as rushing this major change through with no transparency or debate would violate patient trust, and doing so without patient consent is unlawful.
A video recording of the full opening session of the NPC Virtual Annual Convention can be viewed here:
NPC President Ron Douglas welcomed a large online audience to the virtual opening Rally of the NPC’s virtual Annual Convention, which will feature four topical webinars across the month of June.
He introduced distinguished guest speakers, Gail Cartmail, President of the TUC, and Jackie Killeen, of the Equality and Human Rights Commission. Both spoke about the need to improve and protect the rights and lives of older people, and the work they were doing on this within their organisations.
Ron Douglas commented: “This was a brilliant opening session to our 2021 Annual Convention, which although in a different format because of the pandemic, was nevertheless just as important and relevant to the NPC’s policies and campaigning remit. Our thanks go to all our excellent speakers and to everyone who attended – we hope they support our other sessions this June.”
Download the press release
The upcoming NPC 2021 Annual Convention webinars are:
· June 18 - 10:30 - 12:30
State Pension Inequality & Pensioner Poverty
Daniela Jenkins, Pensions Advisory Group, Women’s Budget Group,
Jack Jones, Pensions Officer, TUC.
Bob Pinkerton, Pensions expert, NPC.
Register here: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_fqflph6FRACT1c4UqOng9w
· June 21 - 14:00 - 16:00
Who Cares? The Future of Health and Care
Professor Sir Michael Marmot, Prof. Epidemiology & Public Health, UCL .
Tracey Jarrett, Lewisham Pensioners’s Association.
Cat Hobbs, Founder, We Own It.
Register here: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_HSxUDouuRqGpnBy-o1eejg
· June 29 - 10:30 - 12:00
Generations United: Bridging the Age Gap
Denise Burke, Director, United for all Ages.
Judith Ish-Horowicz MBE, Founder Apples & Honey Nightingale Nursery for Toddlers and Older People.
James Lynch, Young RMT activist who supports intergenerational initiatives.
Joy France, Pensioner Poet & ‘Battle Rapper.’
Register here: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_lbA-GFM8TQaxTkoxVaBKFg