NHS data-shar­ing

The Daily Telegraph - - Letters To The Editor -

SIR – Harry de Quet­teville’s piece, “The NHS must have – and share – your data” (Com­ment, Jan­uary 9), makes a rarely heard ar­gu­ment: shar­ing pa­tient data im­proves care and saves lives.

Whether it’s for im­prov­ing ser­vices, un­der­tak­ing re­search or de­liv­er­ing bet­ter care, the shar­ing of data ben­e­fits us all. While the Gov­ern­ment and NHS bod­ies must re­spond to le­git­i­mate pub­lic con­cern about the se­cu­rity of data, they also need to do more to make the case for shar­ing it.

In this con­text, we wel­come the an­nounce­ment that the na­tional pa­tient sur­vey pro­gramme will be ex­empted from the data optout. This means that these worldlead­ing sur­veys will con­tinue to pro­vide vi­tal in­tel­li­gence on the qual­ity of care of­fered by the NHS and en­sure that pa­tient feed­back shapes im­prove­ments. This de­ci­sion un­der­lines the im­por­tance of shar­ing pa­tient data. Now the Gov­ern­ment and NHS bod­ies need to en­sure that the mes­sage is heard. Harry Evans

Pol­icy Re­searcher, The King’s Fund Lon­don W1

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