Medical directors at 14 NHS trusts have backed NHS England’s proposed £480m ’federated data platform’ as part of efforts to demonstrate clinical support for the controversial project.
The move comes ahead of an expected imminent announcement about which supplier will win the £480m contract to run the FDP.
The FDP aims to help the NHS become more efficient through improved data management, but critics say the proposed platform is too expensive and that its benefits can be achieved in a more cost effective way. Privacy campaigners also have concerns over the security of patient’s data - mostly linked to the presence of US firm Palantir as one of the front runners to win the contract.
During the last two years NHS England has sought to pilot several “use cases” for the FDP in up to 20 trusts.
The letter from the 14 medical directors has been published on the NHS England website. NHSE told HSJ the original idea for the letter had come from the pilot sites themselves, and that it had facilitated the collection of signatures.
A report in Digital Health quoted NHSE national director for transformation Vin Diwakar as telling medical directors it was “imperative that we can demonstrate…clinical support for a federated data platform”. Dr Diwakar said last month that the FDP was ‘absolutely critical for the future of the NHS’.
The letter says its authors recognise that “some people may have reservations about the FDP”.
It continues: “Those who access patient data daily know this is an exercise in trust. As clinicians, we take it extremely seriously. The FDP is categorically not about collecting new data and is instead about using what we already have better. The platform incorporates robust, world-leading data security measures, including purpose-based access controls and an extensive audit trail for accountability.”
Addressing patient data concerns, the letter states the “use of data in the FDP will always remain under the full control of the NHS, and therefore under the stringent legal frameworks in place in the UK”.
It explains: “The chosen software provider will not hold or have access to NHS data for their own purposes, and just as now your data will never be provided to third parties for anything other than those things you consent to.”
Date: 17 October