A prominent Tory MP on the powerful health select committee has questioned how the entire NHS hospital patient database for England was handed over to management consultants who uploaded it to Google servers based outside the UK.
Sarah Wollaston, who is also a family doctor and Conservative backbencher, tweeted: “So HES [hospital episode statistics] data uploaded to ‘google’s immense army of servers’, who consented to that?”
The patient information had been obtained by PA Consulting, which claimed to have secured the “entire start-to-finish HES dataset across all three areas of collection – inpatient, outpatient and A&E”.
The data set was so large it took up 27 DVDs and took a couple of weeks to upload. The management consultants said: “Within two weeks of starting to use the Google tools we were able to produce interactive maps directly from HES queries in seconds.”