Re: Everything you need to know ...
"GPs will always have access to your data. It also gets mailed around the country when you move doctor or you get health insurance"
Let me tell you how it is from someone who worked in Primary Care (GP surgeries and PCT). Yes, your GP has access to your data. Yes, if you move to a new GP your records get transferred. I don't know why you imagine these two things are profound counter-arguments to centralized record keeping and wide-spread access both of which are vastly different to just your own and previous GPs having access. Furthermore, on an insurance check, no - the insurer does NOT have access to your health records, a GP will be asked to let the insurer know if there's anything on there that would impact the policy. Very much not the same thing. I have actually witnessed discussions between two GPs on whether something needed to be disclosed to an insurer or not and they were trying to tread a balance between patient confidentiality and obligation to the insurer in that instance. If you had a cardiac arrest last year, they'll tell the insurer that (and you should have anyway as you'll already have signed something saying if you had any serious medical conditions or not). It doesn't mean that the insurer gets to look through your records and see that you were pregnant at fifteen or are seeing a counsellor.
Nor do they get to do any of this at any time they like.
I get really tired of people who know fuck all, think they're clever and just like to try and sound smart or score points by attacking what they think are obvious flaws with what they think are great insights.
Your GP / previous GP seeing your records =/= a massive centralized database accessible nationwide and by insurers.
I say this as someone who used to work in Primary Care - you CANNOT trust the DOH to safeguard your privacy. I repeat: they WILL NOT. The original CfH (Connecting for Health) programme where all this comes from had every receptionist at every GP practice in the country able to access your test results and similar and their response to us when we were horrified at this was 'only registered NHS professionals who have signed patient confidentiality agreements have access'. Translation: anyone who takes a job at a practice has signed a bit of paper (one of many). That is the DOH attitude in a nutshell - it doesn't matter if something works or doesn't work or shouts your personal information from the rooftops. What matters is whether there is a bit of paper saying its someone else's responsibility or not.
There are tonnes of horribly overworked people in the middle and lower-tiers of the NHS. People at the coal face struggling with endless waves of ever-aging patient lists, people at the lower levels of the PCT tearing their hair out trying to co-ordinate finite resources and manage all the programmes that exist between practices and stay on top of all the bureaucracy that is dumped on them. But the upper levels of the NHS? Rotten to the core. It's why I left - so many problems that were above the level of access I had to fix.
Anyone who tries to trivialize this like the AC I just replied to did, or who thinks that the DOH will look out for you, is lying or an idiot. Once you get to the upper reaches of the PCTs and higher, they're corrupt as Hell and motivated solely by making sure they get money to their private industry friends and that they have a bit of paper saying a disaster is not their fault.
They will NOT give you any privacy protection that you do not FORCE them to. And the moment you take the whip away, they will try again.