Current Issues in Information Governance Seminar Series hosted by Professor Justine Pila and Professor Jane Kaye.

Today's Speakers are  Ruby Reed Berendt  and Dr. Edward Dove   from the Edinburgh Law School, University of Edinburgh

Title : UK-REACH: Exploring the legal and ethical implications of linking healthcare, employment and registration data of UK healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic   

Abstract : UK-REACH is an NIHR-funded project which aims to (1) identify if, how and why ethnicity affects COVID-19 diagnosis and outcomes in healthcare workers (HCWs), and (2) investigate the impact of the disease on the physical and mental health of ethnic minority HCWs. A constituent element of the research involves the expedited linkage and analysis of data about HCWs across the four UK Nations. This includes data concerning their employment, health and registration. In this paper, we analyse the legal and ethical implications of using HCW’s data in this manner. From a legal perspective, we question the extent to which such data can be considered anonymous and discuss how anonymisation should be reframed to deal with such concerns. From an ethical perspective, utilising Xafis and colleague’s novel “Ethics Framework for Big Data in Health and Research”, we 1) identify the key values arising in the context of COVID-19, ethnicity and data linkage, and 2) consider how these values should be balanced to ensure that such research appropriately accounts for morally relevant interests and mitigates any potential harms arising. Ultimately, our paper aims to chart a path for using and linking sensitive data in a way that is ethically, legally and socially acceptable.

This seminar will be recorded.