The records of millions of NHS patients could soon be acquired by private firms if plans by the NHS come to fruition in a bid to help find out which drugs are most effective at treating particular illnesses.
According to some reports, although names will be removed from the database, patients would still be identifiable due to the cross-referencing of post codes, addresses and details of illnesses and ailments.
Companies are said to be particular interested in grabbing this data goldmine in order to to sell products - at a cheaper price - to the NHS and there are fears that this may be a sneaky way for the UK government to cut NHS spiralling costs by getting private firms involved.
The NHS is also planning to change the way that patients give the permission for the electronic version of their Summary Care Records (SCRs) to be accessed by NHS employees.
Patients will now have to expressly give permission every time health professionals try to access their SCRs and a recent trial involving 160,000 patients saw a mere one percent of patients opting out.