Access list for national hospital records database to be published

Health & Social Care Information Centre to detail data released, organisation that requested it and legal basis for releasing it

Anna Bradley of Healthwatch England

Anna Bradley, chair of Healthwatch England, welcomes a move by HSCIC that is ‘vital if the public is going to have any confidence in’. Photograph: Martin Godwin for the Guardian

Health officials in charge of a national database for hospital records are to publish a list of every organisation that has had access to the data.

The Health & Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) will issue a report detailing all the data it has released and the legal basis behind those releases.

The move has been welcomed by health campaigners who said there had been some “really big questions” raised about how medical records had been used.

The HSCIC has also commissioned an audit of all of the data released by its predecessor organisation, the NHS Information Centre.

“The HSCIC is absolutely committed to improving its own transparency and engagement with the public,” Kingsley Manning, its chairman, said. “In both reviewing the actions of the old NHS Information Centre and publishing our own decisions, we are encouraging public scrutiny,

“The clear benefits to patients of research and analysis of medical outcomes must drive our lawful release of data” adding, “this is why we were created by the Health and Social Care Act 2012.”

Anna Bradley, chairwoman of Healthwatch England, a statutory consumer body, said: “Understandably people are telling us they are concerned about how their records might be used in future.

“This is a positive move by the HSCIC and absolutely vital if the public is going to have any confidence in

“Hopefully, complete transparency about the past can help the authorities draw a line in the sand and focus on getting this right going forward.”

The HSCIC will be involved in the new programme. It will be responsible for collating patient records from GP surgeries when the initiative comes into force later this year.

The scheme was pushed back until the autumn after patients, doctors and other professional organisations raised concerns that they had not been given enough time to learn about the project.

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