NHS England has awarded a £330 million contract to US data analytics company Palantir to create a Federated Data Platform (FDP). Accenture, PwC, NECS, and Carnall Farrar will support Palantir. NHS England stated that no company involved in the FDP could access health and care data without the explicit permission of the NHS. The FDP will make it easier for staff to access key information to provide improved and more timely patient care by bringing together existing patient data sets. The platform is expected to be rolled out next year. The platform aims to connect data already held by health service trusts and integrated care systems to better manage patient care, including recovery of elective care and improvement of discharge processes. However, Palantir’s involvement has raised concerns about the security and privacy of patient medical records and whether patients will be able to opt out of the FDP sharing their data.
However, campaigners warn that the FDP could be derailed due to a lack of public trust over patients being denied the opportunity to opt out of sharing their medical records. Foxglove, which monitors big tech and its relationship with the government, accuses the FDP of doing a U-turn after initially signalling that patients would have the right to refuse permission for details of their medical history being shared between different NHS bodies through the platform. As such, NHS England may face a legal challenge over the lack of an opt-out.
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