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Foundation welcomes suspension of data-sharing between the NHS and the Home Office

The Foundation welcomes the announcement by the government that the Memorandum of Understanding between NHS Digital, the Department of Health and the Home Office that allows health information to be used for immigration enforcement will be suspended.

Together with Doctors of the World, the National AIDS Trust, Maternity Action and many others, we have repeatedly highlighted in public and raised in meetings with civil servants the risks from data-sharing with immigration enforcement to the health and well being of migrant and settled black and minority ethnic communities.

The data-sharing arrangements between NHS Digital, the Department of Health and the Home Office were also criticised by the former Chief Executive of NHS Digital, the former Chief Executive of NHS England, and the Health Select Committee.

The Memorandum of Understanding is one of a number of data-sharing agreements between government departments and agencies as part of immigration enforcement. For example, such formal and informal arrangements were in place in education and are still in place in welfare. The Foundation continues to be concerned about these continuing arrangements, the broader Hostile Environment and their impact on migrant and settled black and minority ethnic communities.