Scottish health board boasts about new system to share children’s confidential records

Schools, social workers and police will be able to access children’s confidential medical records in a new integrated database established by NHS Dumfries and Galloway.

The move, which renews fresh fears over data sharing, has been described by the health board as a “pioneering achievement”.

Graham Gault, General Manager ICT at NHS Dumfries and Galloway, said: “We now have a powerful and sophisticated tool to link children from records and datasets that use NHS numbers, social care numbers, police references, education references and any other type of identifier.

“We can now share relevant health information with partner organisations, where appropriate, using proper information governance protocols, so that the best decisions can be made, and the safest and most effective care delivered for children.”

NextGate, the US-based IT specialists who designed the database to fit with the Scottish Government’s ‘Getting it right for every child’ guidelines, said: “This project represents a major move forward in Scotland for delivering joined-up services. Population health relies on accurate, timely, and aggregated information.”

But Simon Calvert, spokesman for NO2NP, warned: “This is the Big Brother state writ large. Don’t these people realise how creepy it is to be boasting about how easy they’ve made it for officials to access highly sensitive data on children?

“This is typical bureaucrat-megalomania, focusing on making life easier for officials and forgetting that they are dealing with confidential information on real people.

“Thousands of officials will soon have easy access to children’s data from social services, police, education, housing and elsewhere. This just adds to people’s feeling that their parenting is being monitored.

“Who will be able to access this information? What will they use it for? People will want to know why the person assessing your housing application needs to know about your child’s confidential health problems or how well they’re doing at school?”

Scottish health board to share health data with partner organisations,, 21 September 2015

Child record access fears
Scottish Sunday Express, 27 September 2015