NHS consults on scheme to unite public and private healthcare data

Exercise launched following conclusion of Paterson Review

Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire/PA Images

The NHS has launched a consultation on how best to bring public and private healthcare data together in a single place and ensure all information adheres to a unified set of standards and processes.

The Acute Data Alignment Programme is being jointly run by NHS Digital and the Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN).

The goal of the project is to “explore how data collected by PHIN from UK private healthcare providers could be aligned to NHS data standards and integrated into relevant NHS quality and safety reporting systems”.

The scheme was first launched in June 2018 and, following the completion of an exploratory phase, a public consultation was originally scheduled to take place in “early 2019”.

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That process was finally kicked off this week, and views are being sought – via NHS Digital’s consultation hub – until the end of next month.

Healthcare professionals from both the NHS and the private sector, as well as members of the public, are invited to complete an online survey.

Participants will be asked to provide their feedback on proposals to share with NHS Digital PHIN’s national data set of private patient care information. If and when such a plan is carried out, this would create “a single repository for practice of consultants in private and public healthcare across England”.

“The repository will be underpinned by common standards to record and report activity, quality and risk in a consistent way across both sectors,” NHS Digital said.

The data-sharing programme supports the recommendations of the recently concluded Paterson Inquiry, which examined the case of Ian Paterson – a surgeon employed previously employed in the private sector who was convicted on 17 counts of wounding with intent, after reportedly performing unnecessary operations on hundreds of women.

Health secretary Matt Hancock said: “Regardless of where you’re treated or how your care is funded, everybody deserves safe, compassionate care. The recent Paterson Inquiry highlighted the shocking failures that can occur when information is not shared and acted upon in both the NHS and independent sector.”

Alongside the consultation, NHS Digital will also run a pilot scheme in which it will collect data directly from some private healthcare providers.


Sam Trendall

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