Public to be consulted on the use of health data

The public will be consulted on how the NHS uses their health data to improve patient care.

The move is part of a series of events starting next year, which will collect public views on digital and data transformation in the NHS.

The large-scale engagement events, supported by up to £2 million of funding, will provide the public with a genuine means of informing and shaping policy around the use of their health data. Topics to be discussed include the Federated Data Platform, a software platform that joins up existing NHS data to help speed up diagnosis, and reduce waiting times and hospital stays.

Dr Vin Diwakar, national director of transformation at NHS England, said: “Better use of data brings huge benefits for patients, ensuring more joined-up care and better use of NHS resources, and leading to faster cancer diagnosis, shorter wait times for elective operations and reduced stays in hospital.

“Public support is integral to how we better use data to improve care – and the best way to do this is through effective and meaningful engagement. Over the course of next year, we will continue to highlight how data is used across the health and care system and it is vital that we involve the public in shaping future data use and how it can save lives.”

The public will be able to discuss and find out more about major programmes already outlined in the government’s Data Saves Lives strategy to help provide patients with a simpler, more meaningful choice about their data.

It will also allow the health and care system to meet its commitments in the Data Strategy to develop products with the involvement of the public.

Rachel Power, chief executive of the Patients Association, said: “Many patients are passionately interested in how their data are used and how they are safeguarded. Our new report on a possible data pact between the NHS and patients shows patients recognise the potential for data use to improve care.

“But it also highlighted how sceptical many patients are. The Patients Association supports a transparent and genuine public engagement programme on how patient data are used. We’d encourage all patients to get involved.”


Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

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