Policy paper Data saves lives: reshaping health and social care with data

Posted : June 15, 2022 - /

Ministerial foreword

The use of NHS data was at the forefront of this country’s fight against coronavirus (COVID-19), helping us to remove restrictions and return on the path to normal life.

Now that we are living with COVID-19, we must keep this momentum going, and apply it to the long-term challenges ahead of us, including tackling the COVID backlog and making the reforms that are vital to the future of health and care.

Earlier this year, I made a speech setting out my 4 priorities for reform in health:

  1. Prevention.
  2. Personalisation.
  3. Performance.
  4. People.

We cannot deliver the change that we need to see – and our 10-year plans for cancerdementia and mental health – unless we embrace the digital revolution and the opportunities that data-driven technologies provide.

There is so much more to do if we are to make the NHS and social care more data driven, and reassure people that their data will be handled safely and ethically.

This strategy shows how we will use data to bring benefits to all parts of health and social care – from patients and care users to staff on the frontline and pioneers driving the most cutting-edge research.

It is backed by a series of concrete commitments, including:

  • investing in secure data environments to power life-saving research and treatments
  • using technology to allow staff to spend more quality time with patients
  • giving people better access to their own data through shared care records and the NHS App

This is on top of the huge investment that we have already made – for instance, investing £200 million in our Data for Research and Development programme.

Last year, we published this strategy in draft so we could gather views from far and wide. I’d like to thank the hundreds of people and organisations who shared their views, which were invaluable in shaping this final product.

I’d also like to thank Professor Ben Goldacre for his work on the review of how we could make better, safer use of health data for research and analysis (known as the Goldacre review), which was published in April, and made a compelling case for how data can drive innovation and improve healthcare. I fully support his recommendations and this strategy shows how we are already taking them forward.

The title of this strategy says it all: data saves lives. If we put this plan into action, and unlock the incredible power that data possesses, we can bring the future forward, and make us all healthier and safer.

– The Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care


Read the full document here.