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UK drops deal that used data from doctors to find migrants

November 12, 2018

LONDON (AP) — Britain’s National Health Service has pulled out of a contentious agreement that gave government officials access to confidential patient data to help track down people suspected of breaking immigration laws.

Some doctors and lawmakers objected to the data-sharing, saying it violated doctor-patient confidentiality and left sick people fearful of seeking medical help.

After human-rights campaigners mounted a legal challenge, the government said in May that it was suspending the agreement while new terms were drawn up that narrowed the data-sharing to cases of “serious criminality.”

The health service’s IT agency, NHS Digital, said Monday it had received a “revised narrowed request” for information-sharing and would consider whether it was in the public interest. It said that in the meantime, “we have formally closed-out our participation” in the existing agreement.

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