The Patient Information clause of the government’s Health and Social Care Bill has been dismissed by a House of Lords’ select committee as being “dangerously unclear”.
The report of the Lords select committee on Delegated Powers and Deregulation highlighted the controversial nature of clause 67 of the Health and Social Care Bill, which contains powers to control the processing of patient information.
The move was welcomed by Liberal Democrat health spokesman Paul Burstow who has campaigned against the clause, which he described as “irresponsible” because it gives health secretary Alan Milburn powers to control the gathering and use of patient information.
The select committee is concerned that the parliamentary control power in clause 67 “might be used in a way which is contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights”.
Professional groups, patients and industry have, in addition, condemned the legislation as “inappropriate”, “unnecessary”and “undesirable”.
Burstow said: “The clause is nothing to do with protecting the rights of patients and everything to do with controlling costs. The secretary of state should go back to the drawing board. He should consult fully with patient and professional groups.”