NHS England has announced that it has awarded a contract to provide its new Federated Data Platform (FDP). The FDP is software that will connect separate NHS trusts and integrated care systems to enable them to talk to one another for improved patient care. GP data will not be part of the national platform. The contract has gone to a group led by Palantir Technologies UK, with support from Accenture, PwC, NECS and Carnall Farrar.

In response to this announcement, Professor Andrew Morris, Director of HDR UK, said:

“The highest performing health systems internationally have whole system intelligence – the ability to follow journeys of care of patients to ensure care is person-centred, safe, effective, efficient, equitable and timely. This is underpinned by data.

“It is vital that data is used well in the NHS as it supports the best treatment and care by ensuring complete, secure and up-to-date information is available to health care professionals at the right time. It’s what we expect as patients.

“The NHS intends the Federated Data Platform to enable better use of our medical data in the care we receive – to join up data that may be held in different parts of the NHS to create these journeys of care, and to help see where the service has capacity for offering treatments we may need.

“But there is a risk. We are worried that concerns about the platform may lead people to use opt-outs that will have no impact on the Federated Data Platform but will harm important medical research.

“Public confidence and demonstrating trustworthiness are crucial. If people have questions about the FDP that they feel aren’t being answered, or there are some that want to protest the move, the National Opt-out Scheme is likely to be used as a route to express this. But NHS England states that opt outs would not apply to the FDP. Opt outs will certainly and directly impact the completeness of data used in research, which would reduce our ability in the UK to carry out important research to improve the treatments and care that we all, our families and our loved ones receive.”

Further information

  • The Association of Medical Research Charities, Understanding Patient Data, the National Data Guardian and National Voices have published a blog post providing background to the announcement
  • Read NHS England’s FAQ on the FDP which provides further information on the procurement process and who will be able to access the data