The National Health Service (NHS) aims to construct a single source of healthcare data to offer more comprehensive insight to care across the NHS and private system. The details will explained in a consultation on the 20th of April 2023, during which the public can share their opinions on these plans.

Past NHS efforts for a single source of healthcare data include the high-profile failure of The National Program for IT (NPfIT) which launched in 2002 ended in 2011 with a losses of around £10bn.

The Acute Data Alignment Programme (ADAPt) will begin its consultation phase in April, 2023.

James Austin, director of data strategy and policy at NHS England, said: “NHS data already plays an important role in how we provide high-quality patient care and monitor safety reporting systems across the NHS.

“This vision of a single repository of healthcare information, combining NHS and private healthcare, will help provide better insights and improve care and treatment for all patients across both the NHS and private healthcare sectors.”

The British Medical Association (BMA) claims the Covid-19 pandemic saw 7.21 million patients whose appointments had been delayed up to 18 months.

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By GlobalData

Bringing a single source of healthcare data to aid this pressure is ambitious, and experts predict concerns about cyber-security issues should be addressed.

Caroline Carruthers, CEO of data company Carruthers and Jackson told Verdict: “These proposals mean that personal health data will be disclosed on a large scale, meaning there is a risk that, without proper technical safeguards, serious privacy infractions could take place, such a data breaches that happen when data transfers are poorly organised.”

“When sharing data, organisations are also taking a legal risk, and we have seen large fines given out recently where organisations have breached data regulations [e.g. Google DeepMind].

It’s critical that the NHS considers the level of compliance with data regulations on both ends of the transaction before implementing data sharing plans,” she continues.