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Letters on 'sleazy' adult gaming plan, sharing NHS digital data and Covid-19

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With reference to the article in the Citizen last week ‘Hoping Gaming Plan’s a Winner’ – it is NOT.

If the (Wisbech) Market Place is a Conservation Area, the nature of this tawdry enterprise is a complete dichotomy and stating ‘adult gaming’ and ‘night time economy’ gives it a whole sleazy slant.

Is this really something for Wisbech? It will attract the wrong kind of people. Will there be any police out to patrol this night time activity? Probably not.

There is also the aspect of gambling addiction. To quote Henry Hodgson of Planning Potential Ltd: “The machines will offer low stakes of between 10p and £2... with the offer of free teas and coffees, to ensure the gamblers stay put.”

There has been an increase in gambling addiction during the pandemic and more gamblers seeking help. There is an interesting report by the Gambling Commission.

With the shortage of housing, I cannot see why the (Fenland District) council did not approve converting 40-48 to apartments.

As we now have a new mayor, does he really want to be remembered for encouraging gambling for the most vulnerable craving a fix, hoping their last £2 will hit the jackpot?

Nancy Scott-Thompson


John Elson's Fenland Citizen cartoon (47942753)
John Elson's Fenland Citizen cartoon (47942753)

Need to make informed decisions about data

On July 1, NHS Digital will be transferring patient-identifiable data from the electronic medical records of patients held by GPs.

This will be carried out without seeking the explicit consent of patients.

This is totally unethical. The data collected by NHS Digital will also be used for purposes other than patient medical care.

To find out more information about this, read the document entitled ‘General Practice Data for Planning and Research: NHS Digital Transparency Notice’, dated May 26, 2021 by typing the following into your web browser: digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/data-collections-and-data-sets/data-collections/general-practice-data-for-planning-and-research/transparency-notice.

I am concerned about the privacy and confidentiality of any information transferred to NHS Digital.

NHS Digital states that data that directly identifies an individual patient such as NHS number, name, full postcode and date of birth is replaced with unique codes produced by de-identification software before it is sent to NHS Digital so that the patient cannot be directly identified.

However, NHS Digital can use the same software to convert the unique codes back to data that could directly identify a patient in “certain circumstances” although these are not specified, and “where there is a valid legal reason”.

The security of the data held by NHS Digital is also of concern. Data breaches are not uncommon.

NHS Digital shares patient data with many different organisations such as local authorities and research organisations including universities, charities and pharmaceutical companies which may potentially have issues with security of data.

Furthermore, NHS Digital states that “any data that NHS Digital collects will only be used for health and care purposes.”

However, there is no guarantee that this data will not be shared in the future with other organisations such as insurance and marketing companies.

If you do not consent for your identifiable patient data to be transferred from your GP practice systems for any purpose other than your own health care, you have only until June 23 to actively opt-out of this.

This is called a Type 1 opt-out. You can do this by completing a form called ‘Dissent from secondary use of GP patient identifiable data’.

This form can be obtained online from the NHS Digital website or from your GP surgery. You need to complete a form for each member of the family, including children, and return it to your GP surgery by June 23, 2021.

In addition, if you wish to actively opt-out of allowing your confidential patient information (which includes hospital data) to be shared by NHS digital for purposes except your own health care, you will need to actively opt-out of this, too.

This is called the National Data opt-out. You can this by going on-line to the NHS Digital website www.nhs.uk/your-nhs-data-matters/manage-your-choice, or you can request a form by calling 0300 3035678.

I hope that Citizen readers will read the information on the NHS Digital website carefully and make informed decisions.

Angela Thomas


Government sending us into Lockdown 3?

Hypothetically speaking , wouldn’t it be an embarrassing oversight and political disaster if our government never used our ‘Nightingale centres’.

They decommissioned them and sent most of the totally unused new equipment over to India, only to find a situation where the Indian virus in the UK mutates and becomes immune to our vaccines.

I suppose the Government could come up with a new contingency plan called ‘Dr Foster Gloucester’ Emergency Covid Isolation Centres.

Then put out new £15million contracts to friends of MPs to purchase new equipment etc.

The issue is that the more that this new Indian variant infects people and spreads across the UK, it increases the chance of mutating into a new strain that is immune to our administered vaccines.This could overwhelm the NHS with more deaths and Lockdown 3 and we could be right back where we started.

Mark Burton


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