CSP welcomes new NHS data strategy for England

The Department of Health has launched a new NHS data strategy for England, which aims to harness the potential of data to improve health and social care.


The new strategy, Data saves lives: reshaping health and social care with data, was published on 13 June, and launched by Health and Social care secretary Sajid David, at London Tech Week.

Key commitments in the strategy include plans for patients to have better access to GP records through the NHS app; for researchers to be able to safely access data; for data to be used to drive efficiency to clear the Covid-19 backlog; and the announcement of a further £25 million investment in the rapid digitization of social care on top of the £150 million already committed.

The strategy also focuses on seven principles, which are designed to harness the data –driven power and innovation seen during the pandemic to drive health and social care and create a system fit for the future.

These principles are:

  1. improving trust in the health and care system’s use of data
  2. giving health and care professionals the information they need to provide the best care
  3. improving data for adult social care
  4. supporting local decision-makers with data
  5. empowering researchers with the data they need to develop life-changing treatments and diagnostics
  6. working with partners to develop innovations that improve health and care
  7. developing the right technical infrastructure

Physios should collect, use and share meaningful data

CSP health informatics lead, Euan McComiskie said: ‘We welcome the new data strategy for England and hope it strengthens the use of data to provide better services to the public we serve.

‘The principles outlined in the strategy correlate with those proposed to form a Scottish Data Strategy that is currently out for consultation. Data is identified as a critical part of the Digital Health and Care Strategies of Wales and Northern Ireland.

It is important that members of the physiotherapy profession all across the UK engage in the collection, use and sharing of meaningful data for our services

'And also to consider the devices, systems and other component parts of the process to make sure that we have the mechanism and desire to contribute physiotherapy data to the wider health and social care landscape.

‘However, this must also be done considerately, at a time where workforce numbers, funding and Covid fatigue remain considerable challenges. We look forward to providing more detail on this in the upcoming Physiotherapy Health Informatics Strategy due for publication later this year.’

Secure data and better access to GP records

The new strategy outlines how secure data environments will be made the default for NHS and adult social care organisations providing access for de-identified data for research. In addition, a £200 million investment in trusted research environments (TREs) – a form of secure data environments – will allow for researchers to securely access and make use of linked NHS data.

Patients should also get better access to their GP records under the new strategy, as they will be granted access to their latest health information by November 2022. The strategy also aims for the boom of activity in the NHS app seen during the pandemic not to slow down and expects 75 per cent of the adult population to be registered by March 2024.

The new data strategy for England has been published, following a period of consultation, in response to recommendations by Professor Ben Goldacre in his review, published earlier this year.

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