The Guardian reports that Atos Healthcare has confirmed it makes all of its nurses and doctors sign the Official Secrets Act (OSA).

Two doctors employed by Atos told the Guardian of their concerns, believing Atos are preventing whistle blowing about patient safety and the appropriateness of medical examinations. One doctor referred to the use of the OSA by Atos as “​something very sinister, cloak and dagger”​ arguing that there was no need to invoke such draconian legislation. A second doctor said “​There is no justification for a healthcare practitioner assessing a person suffering from back pain or depression to sign this kind of document.”​

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) denied any knowledge of Atos employees being forced to sign the OSA, and responding to two parliamentary questions Chris Grayling, minister for employment said there was no requirement for Atos employees to be bound by the terms of the Act. He said “​No Atos Healthcare employees have been prosecuted for breach of confidentiality rules ... from 2008 to date.”​

Atos however told the Guardian that it has a blanket security policy, meaning that employees have to sign a number of security compliance forms including the OSA. It said, “​Atos Healthcare provides services to a number of clients and in line with our best practice security policy, we ask employees who handle confidential information as part of our work with public clients to sign a set of security compliance forms including the Official Secrets Act declaration form.”​

The Guardian report can be found here.


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