29th Nov 2023

Domestic Abuse: The Unintended Consequences of the NHS App

Domestic Abuse: The Unintended Consequences of the NHS App

 

At the end of October 2023, a joint letter by agencies supporting survivors of domestic abuse warned of concerns about the requirement that GPs should provide patients with remote access to their medical records via the NHS app and website by the end of October. They feared that perpetrators of domestic abuse may be able to gain access to a survivor’s records by coercing the survivor to share access to their records. Having gained access to these records, perpetrators could continue their abuse, using the personal information.

Worryingly, the lack of publicity around these changes means that some survivors’ records may already be available in the NHS app, and they do not even know it.

Director Helen Greenfield of Family Law in Partnership who is a specialist in supporting clients who have experienced domestic abuse comments:

“For some patients, these changes will only add to the frighteningly long list of ways that their perpetrator can continue their abuse, potentially allowing them to weaponise the most personal of information.  This change has not been well publicised so some individuals will not even be aware of the potential dangers it could pose. It should be relatively straightforward to “opt out”, or even to simply delete the NHS app from your device (if it is safe to do so) and some GPs may even have taken the initiative to do this on your behalf. But my advice is to contact your GP if you are unsure.”

For more information, please read the joint letter from Refuge, Women’s Aid and others here.

For more information on how Family Law in Partnership can help you if you are faced with domestic abuse, please visit our website page Abuse in Relationships below or contact director Helen Greenfield who focuses on this area of law on T: 020 7420 5000 or by email at hg@flip.co.uk