Sunday 6 June 2010


Now, let me start off by saying that this matter does not affect Scotland, and so some may wonder why I bother to blog about it.

My answer is that it is less the actual item, but more the principle that bothers me, and that the perpetrators, in certain matters, govern my country as well as England.

The matter in hand is the English NHS’s centralized database which Labour had set up and was ready to roll as of April passed. Both Conservative and Liberal Democrat election manifestos promised to scale back on what they called Labour's database state, and both parties' health spokesmen pledged before the poll that the centralizing of NHS medical records would be halted.


It was therefore a rather strange situation when, in a parliamentary written answer (the type used to slip out bad news) the Heath minister Simon Burns said: "Uploading of information to the Summary Care Record will continue to take place, where the relevant general practitioner practices and primary care trusts (PCTs) agree that patients have been adequately informed about the process, and properly enabled to opt out should they wish, and where GP practices and PCTs are satisfied that data are of an appropriate quality for sharing."

Well, that seems like a very strange “HALTED” to me.

OK. We can argue till the cows come home about whether or not this centralized system is a
good idea or not. If you have just been in an accident, are unconscious, in another town in your country, and allergic to say morphine, you may be very glad that your record is accessible; if on the other hand, someone sticks the whole thing onto a memory stick and sells it to the highest bidder, then you may not.

It isn’t that that I want to discuss. It is the fact that with around a month gone since the election the coalition has changed its tune on some of the Labour’s Surveillance Society that was due to be dismantled.

What excuse can there be? It’s not a coalition compromise. Neither party was in favour of it. Last year, Stephen O'Brien, health spokesman for the Tories, said a Conservative government would dismantle the NHS IT system. And earlier this year Norman Lamb, health spokesman for the Liberals said that the NHS IT scheme had been a disastrous waste of money and should be abandoned.

So why not abandon it?

It can’t be that there was something top secret that, as opposition parties, they were not allowed to know about, as there may sometimes be in say Defence or Treasury, or to do with the Secret Services. Nope, this is just a policy about health data bases, nothing secret or dangerous.... except of course to the people who are on them.

So, why the change?

Any ideas?

We’ve already had the policy that the size of parliament is to be reduced, but first they have to create 200 or so new Lords.

So what is next for U-turns?


  1. If this is true it is very disappointing for sure.

  2. Mrs Thatcher will be horrified. But then she was much better at hiding her U-Turns. You surely didn’t think that “New Politics”® would actually involve anything “new” did you?

  3. Morning Dean:

    I'm sorry. I should have linked it to the article in the Independent, from which it originated. It's done now.

    Of course that doesn't make it true, but, well you know, it's not the Daily Mail. <;¬)

  4. Morning Munguin:

    Well, they tried to slip this one out in a written answer. probably on a Friday afternoon... That's a cunning plan that most people could see through, but they are new at it so far.

    I'd have expected u-turns on policies where they disagreed, but it sounds like this was something with which to oppose the Labour government and they both did so, even if really they thought it not a bad idea.

    ......which, in my opinion it probably is anyway as long as they tidy up security.

  5. BTW...I'm off to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary (I'm not infirm!!) for a check up and will be gone all day, so I apologise in advance for the fact that I won't be able to reply to anyone till later tonight.

  6. Tris,

    Good luck on your check-up. If it's the same guy as Nikos had make sure he washes his hands.

  7. Tris

    off for me psa test see the consultant in two weeks.......

    One things for sure even if Brownlie washed his hands in carbolic soap i wouldnt let him examine me.....Certainly in the area the consultant normally puts his finger.

  8. LOL. Thanks brownlie....

    It seemed to go fine. It was a lady though, and I emphasise the word lady. And she had beautiful clean hands, so, ya know.... I guess it wasn't the same person.

  9. Aye well, you know we'll all be thinkingof you Niko, you old unionist rogue.

    My mate just had one and he was fine as a dime, so we're hoping you'll be the same.

    Erm, I'm sure brownlie will be much relieved to hear that you don't want him to be examining you...erm, there!

    I expect he wasn't exactly queuing up for the job!

    Hey Niko, keep us up to speed though, huh?