Labour U-turn over ID card medical details

April 23rd, 2006

Isabel Oakeshott, Deputy Political Editor

IDENTITY cards are to carry medical details, despite repeated government assurances that concerns about privacy meant it would not happen.

A minister at the Home Office disclosed it wants people to put personal health information on the cards to give doctors information for emergencies.

Card-holders will be urged to volunteer details of blood group, allergies, and whether they wish to donate organs. Ministers stressed there would be no compulsion.

Andy Burnham, a junior Home Office minister with responsibility for promoting ID cards, said there was an “impressive benefits case” for use of the cards by the NHS.

Health information about individuals would be kept on the central identity card database, and would not be visible on the cards themselves.

Pressure groups condemned the move as “function creep”, while the British Medical Association (BMA) said it was “sceptical” of the benefits.

Last October Charles Clarke, the home secretary, explicitly ruled out the move, saying “no medical details will be on the database”.

However, Burnham denied the government was now performing a U-turn: “There is an argument to say that if people want to put personal information on the card, they should. It is something we are looking at.

“You could argue that blood group, allergies, donor status, that sort of information could be potentially helpful, for example, when a patient arrives in accident and emergency. People could also put their next of kin on the cards if they wanted.”

A clause added to identity card legislation last year states that the database will not hold sensitive personal details. However, Burnham said: “That is specifically about attaching NHS records to the database. We have explicitly ruled this out and have not changed our position. What we are talking about is simple, voluntary health information.”

Asked if HIV-Aids victims would be encouraged to disclose their status, he said: “We are not considering that at this stage.”

The Home Office also wants to use the cards to tackle so-called health tourism — with GP surgeries and hospitals encouraged to use the system to check whether foreign patients are entitled to NHS care.


NOW YOU SEE. They are going to put everything and anything onto the NIR; they have decided to add this extra row to the database without any debate, no new act of parliament, nothing – just a pronouncement made public on a Sunday.

They WILL include your religion.
They WILL include your HIV status, after they have ‘considered’ it.
They WILL include your ‘vaccination status’.
They WILL include anything they have previously said that they would not include, and things that have not even been mentioned, like ‘race’ (no a photo does not show what ‘race’ you belong to).
HMG will roll out the full feature list over the next two years, incrementally adding new rows until there is not a single fact that they cannot record on the NIR arbout you.

Of course, if you are not in there, they cannot even begin this process. That is why you must not register under any circumstances.

2 Responses to “Labour U-turn over ID card medical details”

  1. meaumeau Says:

    > They WILL include your religion.

    They WILL include everything on the 2011 Census, which is why they are desparate to have everyone NIR’d before then.

  2. irdial Says:

    …and that census will involve going to your local council building and getting swiped no doubt. +1 insightful from M2, OMG how do you do it?!

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