Sexuality: 'Government collects patient data because it can, not because it's well-thought out'

Sexuality: 'Government collects patient data because it can, not because it's well-thought out'

GPs will be told ask patients about their sexuality

Monday, October 16, 2017

The Government is collecting data from us because it thinks it can, not because it has a well-thought out policy on the matter, according to the Family Doctor Association.

New NHS guidelines mean doctors, nurses and local councils running adult social care should ask for the sexuality of patients if they are over 16, in a bid to fight discrimination. However, no one will be forced to provide an answer to the question.

Doctor Peter Swinyard, the chairman of the Family Doctor Association: "It’s rather like the Government’s just collecting big data from us because they feel they can rather than it’s been a very well thought-through policy."

He thinks "if we clutter [consultations] up in general with any questions from central government, it takes away from the patient's time with their own doctor, which is increasingly precious as we have fewer and fewer GPs."

He added that it will put GPs in a "terrible position" as "I think we’re stuck here between the equality act and information governance" as they can only store patient information for as long as it is needed, but questions whether sexuality data is needed.

Swinyard is also cynical about "effectiveness and safety" of data collection being anonymised and secured.

However overall he believes "this is just going to be one of those white elephants that gets kicked into the long grass."

​Listen to the full interview above