These amendments relate to the use of data and information sharing. The noble Baroness, Lady Thornton, my noble friend Lord Clement- Jones and the noble Lord, Lord Patel, have put their names to some of them. The noble Lord, Lord Freyberg, outlined clearly in the context of trade and health the power and value of data. Data is a hugely rich source for research but also a hugely valuable commodity, so we need safeguards.
Concern was raised in Committee about the level of protection in the Bill for patient information, as regulations are able to make provision about the disclosure of such information. I am grateful to the Minister for being so willing to look at this again.
The Government have responded in two main ways: with the introduction of a definition of “relevant person”, thereby narrowing the definition of whom data can be shared with, and by defining what is meant by patient information. As the noble Lord, Lord Patel, explained, Amendment 24 in the name of the noble Baroness, Lady Thornton, strengthens the definition of patient information to protect information that could identify a patient, rather than just information that does.
Amendments 18, 36 and 57, led by the noble Baroness, Lady Thornton, and supported by my noble friend Lord Clement-Jones and others, would allow a relevant authority to disclose information to a person outside the UK only where required for the purpose of giving effect to an international agreement or an arrangement concerning the regulation of human medicine, provided it was within the public interest so to do. Those three amendments all pass the test put forward by the noble Baroness, Lady McIntosh of Pickering, concerning public good.
Amendment 20, from my noble friend Lord Clement-Jones, would take the Government’s amendment on patient consent further by ensuring that consent given in relation to identifiable information was informed consent. The noble Baroness, Lady Cumberlege, has just raised the issue. We should not need this. Informed consent should be the default but, as it clearly is not, I support my noble friend’s Amendment 20.
Similarly, Amendment 21, in the name of the noble Baroness, Lady Thornton, would ensure that patient information could be shared by an appropriate authority only if the individual to whom it related had given their explicit consent.
These amendments strengthen the Bill and therefore patient outcomes. I will listen to the Minister to see what plans the Government have to satisfy noble Lords on this group.