NHS England announce seven-year contract with Palantir worth £330m to deliver a “federated data platform”

Latest update 11 January 2024 

Following the publication of the Federated Data Platform (FDP) contract between NHS England and Palantir, our Executive Group Chair & Vice Chair have written to Amanda Pritchard, the CEO of NHS England, on behalf of use MY data.

While the progress of the FDP and the publication of the contract is welcome, we are concerned about the heavy redaction within the contract and the damage that this could do to public and patient confidence in the use of patient data.  Opt-outs are likely to increase and while these will not affect the FDP, they will definitely affect research and planning.

NHS England has published information to say that they are “continuing work on the final redactions, and it is anticipated that additional parts of the contract will be provided in due course…”.  use MY data has requested timescales for the publication and asked that the redactions we have highlighted be published as fully as possible (with the possible exception of the data security elements).

We will make the full text of the letter available when we have received a response from NHS England.

Background

On 21 November 2023 NHS England announced that “the NHS will roll out new software from spring next year to deliver better joined-up care for millions of patients, help tackle waiting lists and reduce hospital discharge delays.”

“The contract to provide the software has been awarded to a group led by Palantir Technologies UK, with support from Accenture, PwC, NECS and Carnall Farrar.”

“The Federated Data Platform will also be the first use case in the NHS of Privacy Enhancing Technology (NHS-PET), a nationally assured and funded privacy tool to benefit all NHS organisations.”

 

A core principle of use MY data is that we want patient data to be used to save lives and improve outcomes. The Federated Data Platform can help achieve this.

We look forward to learning more details about the FDP so that we can comment on how it will heed our other core principles; that it must be transparent, inclusive, communicated effectively and clearly, and reflect the views of patients.

The publication by NHS England of a set of updated Frequently Asked Questions and an Engagement Portal is a positive step. Transparency is key around any use of patient data.   

We are pleased to see an independent Check and Challenge group being established “to continue to help NHS England understand and respond to the questions and comments coming in through the new information portal, and to help create a culture of ongoing public engagement around how the NHS makes the best and fair use of data to transform care”.. 

We look forward to seeing the Terms of Reference and membership of the group, in which patient and public voices will be essential to build confidence in the FDP.  We are ready and able to provide such a voice and bring our collective patient experience to serve on the group if invited to do so.

END

 

Note: You can read related questions we previously flagged to NHS England ("Bringing clarity to national patient data activity in England") here.

 

 

For reference: Various media articles from the launch day:

The Guardian

“The move immediately prompted concerns about the security and privacy of patient medical records and the suitability of Palantir to be given access to and oversight of such sensitive material.”

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2023/nov/21/patient-privacy-fears-us-spy-tech-firm-palantir-wins-nhs-contract

 

OpenDemocracy

“NHS patients in England cannot trust that their data will be anonymised before it is handed over to a US spy-tech firm, a Tory MP has warned.”

https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/palantir-nhs-federated-data-platform-patient-trust-opt-out/

 

British Medical Journal

“NHS England has awarded the £480m contract for its federated data platform (FDP) to the US spy technology firm Palantir, in the face of opposition from the BMA, the Doctors’ Association UK, patients’ groups, and privacy campaigners.”

https://www.bmj.com/content/383/bmj.p2752

 

As reported by the Independent

“We’re the only company of our size and scale that doesn’t buy your data, doesn’t sell your data, doesn’t transfer it to any other company.  That data belongs to the Government of the United Kingdom.”

Alex Karp, CEP of Palantir on BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg programme on October 29

https://www.independent.co.uk/business/group-led-by-us-tech-giant-handed-major-nhs-contract-b2451122.html

 

Pulse (online GP Magazine)

“NHS England has announced £2m of funding for an engagement campaign to gather views from patients on how data in their GP record is used.”

https://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/news/breaking-news/nhs-to-launch-new-2m-engagement-campaign-on-patient-data-sharing/

But the NHSE announcement about the FDP highlights that “GP data will not be part of the national platform.”

 

Eastern Daily Press

Steve Brine, chairman of the Health and Social Care Committee, said: “Substantial concerns currently exist among the public about their information and the NHS regarding trust, transparency and data security.

“Public concerns can be allayed by more transparency and better communication about what this platform will do and how their data will be used.”

https://www.edp24.co.uk/news/national/23939935.mps-press-new-health-secretary-nhs-data-platform-plans/

 


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