Below is the text of Mr Major's written Parliamentary Answer on the NHS Central Register on 17th June 1986.
Mr. Ashdown Asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will name, list and describe what records are kept of disclosures of information from the National Health Services central register; and if he will publish a summary of the relevant statistics for 1985.
Mr. Major The National Health Service central register is an integral part of the patient registration system administered by family practitioner committees. Patient information held there is limited to name, date of birth, NHS number and an indication of which FPC currently holds the patient's registration with a NHS doctor.
Disclosure of information from NHS central register records is almost entirely confined to FPCs and the NHS units for whom NHSCR acts as a clearing house for greater efficiency in the administration of Family Practitioner Services.
Information relating to mortality and cancer registrations obtained via OPCS is also used to help researchers in approved medical research and statistical studies, and, also clinicians following up their own patients. Indirect assistance in communicating with patients is provided, with the approval and co-
Apart from the disclosure of information to bodies within the National Health Service and to research studies, requests for information from other sources amount to approximately 1,200 per year.
Mr. Ashdown Asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether instructions have been issued to staff of his Department on the subject of obtaining disclosure of information from the National Health Service central register in the course of investigating actual or suspected fraud by social security claimants; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Major It is not in the public interest to disclose operational procedures for the investigation of social security fraud.
Mr. Ashdown Asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will publish the instructions under which information from the National Health Service central register may be disclosed for any purpose of law enforcement, including disclosure to staff of his Department investigating actual or suspected fraud by social security claimants.
Mr. Major The Code of Guidance used by the National Health Service central register states -