The UK government's interest in accessing migrant records dates back to when Theresa May was the Home Secretary. In 2016, a memorandum of understanding was signed in secret, which required NHS Digital to hand over non-clinical patient details, including the last known addresses, dates of birth, GP's details, and date registered with the doctor. More than 8,000 confidential patient records were handed over to the Home Office in the year leading up to the publication of the deal. This data-sharing agreement between the NHS and Home Office was suspended in May 2018 due to concerns about scaring patients away from seeking NHS care. A court challenge led to the memorandum being scrapped. Organisations such as Liberty are calling for clarity and a commitment to dismantling the hostile environment and implementing a data "firewall" to protect personal information collected by trusted services from being shared with the Home Office for immigration enforcement.
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