Government Pledge To End NHS Data-Sharing With Immigration Enforcers 'Worryingly Vague'

Doctors Of The World

A government pledge to end controversial data-sharing between the NHS and immigration enforcers is “worryingly vague”, campaigners say. 

Minister Margot James announced on Wednesday that a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which allowed Home Office officials to request confidential patient details from health professionals as part of their investigations, would be suspended immediately. 

It follows a lengthy campaign by MPs on the health select committee and several charities, who warned many migrants were too scared to see a GP when they were ill for fear of deportation. 

Health committee chair Sarah Wollaston welcomed the U-turn by the government, who said data would only be requested in exceptional circumstances going forward.

Labour MP Dr Paul Williams, who along with Wollaston tabled an amendment to the Data Protection Bill to end the MOU, said he believed the Windrush scandal and its impact on the cabinet had played a huge part in the decision.

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