UK government publishes new draft data strategy
The government has this week published the long-awaited draft data strategy: Data saves lives: reshaping health and social care with data.
This new strategy builds upon previous attemptsto harness the NHS’s rich store of patient data and advances in data use during the pandemic. With the NHS facing unprecedented challenges such as the elective recovery backlog and worsening population mental health due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the data strategy includes a particular focus on improving operations and driving efficiency, as well as the development of new therapies, tools and pathways.
The strategy has been broadly well received so far, with the ABPI saying that the “strategy is a welcome blueprint for a future health and research system that builds on the successes of the pandemic, with high-quality data used in a safe and secure way to benefit patients across the UK”. Similarly, the NHS Confederation were “Pleased to see that the strategy acknowledges important issues including the integration of local care systems, as well as a reduction in administrative burdens for data processing and improved access to data for research which will help ensure that the health service can continue to provide the best possible care to patients”.
However, this strategy arrives amidst a growing, increasingly familiar dispute over data handling and privacy and the emphasis on the public consultation that will now follow is welcome.