Plans by the identification, referral and tracking pilot project in
Bolton to create a database using NHS information are to go ahead
even though it may break data protection laws.
Bolton Primary Care Trust suspended the project after becoming
concerned that it could be acting illegally if it shared
information with other agencies (news, page 9, 23 October). But
after taking legal advice the PCT has decided there is only a
“small risk” of a legal challenge.
It will now put the name, address, date of birth, gender and GP of
all children it has contact with on an IT database that will be
accessible to agencies involved in the project, such as social
“We feel that it’s so important that we protect children that this
database must go ahead,” said Jan Hutchinson, director of public
health for Bolton PCT and Bolton Council.
Lawyers told the PCT there was a “respectable argument” for the
details to be passed over but could not definitively state that the
PCT would not be acting unlawfully.
As a result of Bolton’s legal advice Kensington and Chelsea’s IRT
pilot project has put on hold plans for a similar database.