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Genetics: Data Protection

Volume 488: debated on Wednesday 25 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the evidence of his Department’s chief scientific adviser to the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee on 21 January 2009, when his Department first considered the inclusion of DNA information on the NHS care record; what consideration has been given to the use of DNA information on the care record for patient identification; what discussions there have been in his Department on the form in which the care record service could hold such information; and what estimate he has made of the date by which the DNA of the majority of individuals will be held on the care record. (256714)

Decisions about the necessity and relevance of recording particular information, including data relating to the patient’s DNA, on health records, whether those held within the NHS care records service (NHS CRS) or elsewhere, is a matter for individual clinicians.

Access to health records is only permitted to clinical staff who have a legitimate relationship with the patient for which consent may be implied, for example because they are providing NHS health care or treatment, or who have express consent from the patient for other reasons, for example clinical research.

Within the NHS CRS, both detailed care records and summary care records, for those who choose to have one, will potentially be updated each time patients receive NHS care, and for obvious reasons the precise information held will differ from patient to patient.