Factsheet: Our personal health data must not be sold

Health data is private and sensitive. Our personal information is becoming a new form of corporate asset worth £10 billion if powerful Big Tech companies gain a stranglehold on that data without safeguards. NHS data is important for research for the public good. Management of our data by the NHS should be founded on public trust. It must not be exploited for profit. The NHS is increasingly dependent on digital technologies. More decisions about our healthcare are based on computer-generated rules (algorithms) that are closed to challenge. Human interaction in clinical decision-making is becoming marginalised with worrying implications for patients and staff.



  • People must have the right to know who is using our data, how and for what purpose
  • Governance of patient health data through legally backed, independent bodies that can restore trust
  • Clarity about consent, and a right to opt out of our data being accessed
  • Citizens’ rights and the public good must be paramount – above the interests of commerce
  • Comprehensive and meaningful patient involvement on how NHS data is used
  • State-funded investment allowing the NHS to develop relevant technologies and staff training and reduce its dependence on the private sector

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