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Draft Health and Care Data Strategy

Volume 697: debated on Tuesday 22 June 2021

I would like to inform the House that the draft strategy “Data Saves Lives: Reshaping health and social care with data” has been published today by NHSX and builds on the ground-breaking use of data during the pandemic.

Over the last 18 months, when facing this country’s greatest public health emergency for generations, one of the most powerful tools at our disposal has been the power of data. Data helped us to identify those who are most vulnerable to coronavirus and ask them to shield; the NHS covid-19 data store we set up was pivotal to our day-to-day response; and it powered vital research that helped us discover new treatments that saved lives across the world.

Under these proposals to deliver truly patient-centred care, everyone in England will be given better access to their own healthcare records and detailed information about exactly how they are used. Patients will be able to access test results, medications, procedures and care plans from across all parts of the health system. They will be able to have confidence that health and care staff have up-to-date information, regardless of the care setting, so they will no longer have to repeat details unnecessarily. By improving their access to data, people will also be able to manage appointments, refill medications and speak remotely, not just face to face, with health and care staff when needed.

This strategy not only seeks to bring people closer to their data, it will also support the NHS in creating a modernised system. The public need to be confident to share their data with the NHS, which will hold it securely on their behalf. These protections reflect the strict parameters for the use of data and security standards set out by the national data guardian for health and care. Today’s new strategy commits the NHS to going even further with a commitment to publish the first transparency statement setting out how health and care data has been used across the sector by 2022. Modern use of patient data saves lives and maintains the highest levels of privacy. The two goals are complementary, not contradictory.

We are publishing this today in draft form so that we have the opportunity to engage with the public and right across the health and care system. The learning from this will be included in a final version to be published in the early autumn.

I will deposit a copy of the draft strategy in the Libraries of both Houses.