The accumulation of medical information by the state is a bad idea for too many reasons to list here. The reason its being done is part of the desperate attempt to make the National Health Service work at any cost. For my part I look forward to the News of the World (a very downmarket British tabloid) informing us which cabinet minister’s wife has head lice, which one takes Prozac, who’s receiving treatment for haemorroids and which cabinet minister’s children won’t have the autism jab.
Of course it is rather difficult arguing against breach of doctor-patient confidentiality on pragmatic grounds: first national databases could be handy in a bio-warfare emergency, it would be handy for the state to know where the greatest threat of smallpox epidemics are. Second, lawyers caved in on this issue of client confidentiality, banks on financial records, now doctors. Oddly enough the most principled professionals are the media. Perhaps it makes a difference that journalists, unlike doctors or lawyers, aren’t working in a licensed sector: a journalist who rats on sources is competing with others who will protect theirs.
The existence of the blogsphere and web media provides a “back street” media which is what the medical profession needs right now. If we had a flourishing industry of back-street abortionists, state centralized records would be meaningless. I confess that’s the most unlikely argument I’ve ever put forward for banning abortions.