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Use of NHS patient information for Home Office immigration enforcement - NAT response

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Yusef Azad, Director of Strategy, said: “We strongly disagree with the decision by the NHS to hand over patient information to the Home Office immigration authorities. Patient confidentiality is one of the cornerstones of an ethical and effective healthcare system.

“We are especially worried at the impact on trust in the NHS among migrants. They include people who have been tortured, or trafficked, people who have serious communicable diseases, people who have vulnerable dependents including children. The migrants affected by these measures retain the right to access a wide range of NHS services perfectly lawfully. They should have assurance of the same confidentiality rights as anyone else.  

“A significant proportion of people with HIV in England are migrants. This sharing of information with the Home Office could well undermine HIV testing and care, and poses a risk both to individuals and to public health. We call on NHS Digital to suspend this service to the Home Office and consult properly on these proposals.”

Notes to editors:

About NAT

NAT (National AIDS Trust) is the UK’s leading charity dedicated to transforming society’s response to HIV. We provide fresh thinking, expertise and practical resources. We champion the rights of people living with HIV and campaign for change.

Shaping attitudes. Challenging injustice. Changing lives.

www.nat.org.uk