Cogent editorial worrying about the effect of recent legislation (incl. Data Protection Act and European Human Rights Act). "Ambiguous statutory regulations, contradictory guidance, and a vocal minority of objecting patients or those representing them will thwart observational research relying on patient-identifiable data, audit, and clinical governance." There is a balance between individual confidentiality and the public interest. There was a recent ruling that the release of anonymised data needed consent from every individual, fortunately overturned in Court of Appeal, but still to go to the Lords. A blanket requirement for anonymous data, and consent from everyone for identifiable data will have important effects.
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