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‘Tesco can see your medical records’ and NHS foreign charging ‘loophole’   

A round-up of the morning’s health news headlines

Supermarkets like Tesco ‘can see your medical records’ warns the Daily Telegraph in front page news.

It’s the story that pharmacists are getting access to summary care records, covered by Pulse here, a plan originally set out in 2013.

The report says privacy campaigners are up in arms after it was revealed that pilots of the scheme – given full backing by pharmacists – got only 15 responses from patients, a sample considered so small they were discarded.

Phil Booth, from medConfidential, told the paper: ‘It is just extraordinary: to roll out a national programme on the basis of 15 responses from patients, some of whom are very likely to have been negative about it. Fifteen people out of 60 million? That’s not an evidence base for a national policy; that is an exercise in manipulation.’

Elsewhere, claims that ‘foreigners’ are charging the NHS for healthcare they receive in their home country because of ‘legal loophole’, in a story from the Daily Mail.

Apparently a journalist working for the paper – who they stress has never lived or paid taxes in Britain - obtained a European Health Insurance Card after visiting for one day, then was told by clinics and hospitals in her native Hungary that she could use it to get maternity care and even skin treatments paid for by the UK taxpayer.

The paper says it has seen online forums where Romanians, Poles, Lithuanians and Slovakians can ‘boast’ they have managed to charge the UK for ‘a range of superficial treatments’.

Health Minister Alistair Burt said it was ‘completely unacceptable that people living outside the UK think they can abuse our NHS’.

Readers' comments (2)

  • If closing the gate after the horse has bolted was a sport the UK would be world champions! There is no joined up thinking at ministerial level because of the competition between the Ministries to look better than their peers. It is also a great way to pass the blame! Not immigrations fault that health gave them EHIC cards, not health's fault for letting them in to get them that was immigration!

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  • An EHIC [card] permits a citizen of one EEA country to obtain immediately necessary treatment in another, on the same terms as a resident of that country. It seems extremely unlikely that a resident of Hungary would be able to charge the UK for treatment in Hungary, just by obtaining a UK EHIC. I don't find this story plausible. See more on the EHIC at http://www.ganfyd.org/index.php?title=Travel_health#European_Health_Insurance_Card_.28EHIC.29

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