Dr Big Brother may see you now.
NHS patients will need three separate identity cards to demonstrate their entitlement to free care and navigate the health service, according to plans by the Department of Health published yesterday. (more see below)
Is it me or are they mad, bad and dangerous to know? What is going on? If you are going to set up a national ID card system at least make it efficient. Not "It emerged yesterday that officials preparing the smartcard had been unaware of the UK's obligation to issue the European health insurance card by December 2005. "
I think the only card that will work for proper health care is going to be an American Express one.
The proposals include a European health insurance card to replace the E111 form, which entitles UK residents to free or reduced-cost emergency treatment when travelling in Europe.
A spokesman said this would be in addition to the NHS smartcard that is being developed to allow patients to book hospital appointments and access their personal "health space" on the internet. The space will store information about treatment preferences, next of kin and personal health records.
The department is also keen to get patients to use a third piece of plastic - the national identity card being proposed by the home secretary, David Blunkett - as proof of entitlement to NHS services. Patients may not be able to register with a GP or get non-emergency treatment without it.
It emerged yesterday that officials preparing the smartcard had been unaware of the UK's obligation to issue the European health insurance card by December 2005.
Already 13 European countries have issued these cards, showing name, date of birth and identity number. Under EU law, they will hold no medical data and cannot be adapted to become NHS smartcards.