A top health official has demanded confidential details of millions of GP appointments.
Sparking yet another NHS privacy row, she has ordered the firm in charge of bookings at most English surgeries to hand over the sensitive data urgently.
The information includes the date, time and duration of appointments as well as the reason for the consultation.
Most of the postcode of the patient is also asked for, as well as their date of birth, according to a letter seen by the Daily Mail.
The information is intended to gauge demand for the Government’s planned seven-day NHS. But privacy campaigners say it is incredible that neither patients nor their GPs have been consulted about the move.
They warned there was enough information within the files for patients to be identified.
EMIS – the GP bookings company – was asked to provide the data by Tracey Grainger, a programme director for David Cameron’s Challenge Fund.
Phil Booth, of the medConfidential privacy campaign, said the fund had no right ‘to go Hoovering up’ everyone’s GP appointments.