The Home Office has obtained the personal data of thousands of NHS patients as part of a Government crackdown on illegal immigration.
Details of an agreement between the health service and the Home Office allowing requests for information on suspected immigration offenders has been made public for the first time.
Non-clinical details that can be sought from NHS Digital include names, dates of birth and the individual’s last known address.
Between September and November, the Home Office made 2,224 requests. In 1,659 instances details were traced, in 516 there was no trace, while 69 requests were turned down.
This represents a threefold rise in requests since 2014 amid Government attempts led by Theresa May to toughen immigration policy, reported The Guardian.
The practice has been called “unacceptable” by Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott.
“We have already seen this Government using schools to gather immigration data on children. Now we find they are using the NHS in the same way,” she said.