Labour vows to save NHS by sharing data from GP records

Opinion: Lockstep moves in kealyjcare. Similar to Canada bribing the Provinces for their Health records. We are being sold to Big Pharma by the politicians.

Labour vows to save NHS by sharing data from GP records
Labour vows to save NHS by sharing data from GP records

Wes Streeting says party will go further than ‘timid Tories’ in modernising the health service using technology

Data from GP records will be shared to save the NHS, Labour has vowed as the party accused the Tories of being “too timid” in their approach to technology.

Wes Streeting, the shadow health secretary, said Labour would go further than the Government in modernising the health service and using patient data to improve care.

The party’s technology plan would also mean the NHS will send app alerts to patients when a relevant clinical trial is recruiting.

The NHS recently announced plans to roll out a federated data platform to harness hospital data in order to improve efficiency and bring down waiting lists.

Mr Streeting said the plans did not go far enough, accusing the Government of running scared from using GP data to improve the health of the nation.

He told the WIRED Health conference that the NHS “could go the way of Woolworths – a much-loved national institution which failed to change with the times and was left behind” if it had five more years under the Tories.

Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Wes Streeting
Mr Streeting says the Government’s plans to harness hospital data do not go far enough CREDIT: Hugh Hastings/Getty Images

The shadow health secretary said the last Labour government had introduced patient choice in 2002, taking on “conspiracy theories that this was about privatisation”.

“We will take the same approach to the major issue for the future of the NHS: patient data.”

“The NHS has struck gold here, yet it’s leaving it in the ground,” he said, adding that the plans for a federated data platform were “the right thing to do”.

The Government’s plans have already generated controversy, with the award of the contract to Palantir, a US firm best known for its work with intelligence and military agencies in the US.

Mr Streeting said: “The Government had a choice – they could face down the conspiracy theorists on the one hand, and the vested interests on the other. Or they could back away and leave the job half-finished. The timid Tories chose an easy life and a worse health service.

“The platform doesn’t include general practice data, which is key to unlocking better population health outcomes.”

Under the current Government, the NHS drew up plans for shared data, which could be accessed by doctors, researchers and pharmaceutical companies.

But the scheme was ditched in 2016 after a backlash from GPs and privacy campaigners.

NHS app
Labour believes data sharing is ‘mission critical’ to improving care of patients, rather than leaving the NHS to ‘wither on the vine’CREDIT: Timon Schneider/Alamy

Mr Streeting accused the Government of refusing to take on the “fearmongering” of “the tinfoil hat brigade” on TikTok and X, formerly known as Twitter, to urge followers to opt out of data sharing.

“It’s a fight that a Labour government is willing to have,” he said, adding it would be transparent about which aspects of patient data are shared; which third-party organisations had access; what patients’ rights and the mechanisms to opt-out are; and the safeguards in place to protect patients’ confidentiality.

But he said data sharing was “mission critical” to improving care of patients, rather than leaving the NHS to “wither on the vine”.

Health officials say that NHS trusts which piloted the use of the federated data platform were able to speed up treatment, with systems showing all care staff which tasks were completed and which remained outstanding.

Mr Streeting also suggested that the NHS should follow Singapore in setting step count challenges to encourage people to live more healthy lives.

Andrew Stephenson, the health minister said: “Rather than talking down the hardworking people who work in our NHS, Labour need to explain how they will pay for their billions of pounds of unfunded spending commitments.

“Labour do not have a plan and that’s why they cannot deliver the long-term change the NHS needs. Only Rishi Sunak and the Conservatives have a plan that will strengthen our economy, meaning we can continue to invest in the NHS.”

What do you think?

Written by Colin

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