Just read the article, this is an interesting point:
The records will be pseudonymised, which means the identifiable data
has been taken out. Instead, it will just contain the patient's age
range, gender and area they live in.
However, researchers can apply for those safeguards to be lifted in
exceptional circumstances, such as during an epidemic. This will need
the permission of the health secretary.
In short: totally reverseable even without correlated datasets.
Summarising: It was all taken as identifiable data because it is related to direct patient care.It then becomes ( very-reverseably ) pseudonymised ( I'm not even clear on how that can be done ) so the patients can be better identified during an epidemic ?
Just wondering what 'exceptional circumstances' would really refer to,
stock value dropping for someone maybe ?
Or just imagine the possibilities for personalised advertising by the pharmaceutical industry
they can make billions on stuff like this.
@laura: yeah... that already happened when it went from NHS to google,
Otherwise I give a big thumbsup to Ben Goldacre who sums it up perfectly.