The NHS driving the nation’s health and wealth

NHS Providers | October 2019 | The NHS driving the nation’s health and wealth

NHS Providers have produced an infographic which establishes why the NHS is important, the scale and scope of its work. It shows how the NHS is an anchor institution in every local community, playing a fundamental role in our health and supporting communities and the nation’s economic growth and productivity (Source: NHS Providers).


The infographic is available to download from NHS Providers

Who cares? The Financialisation in social care

IPPR | September 2019 | Who cares? The Financialisation in social care

The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) has published a briefing paper: Who cares? Financialisation in social care

Recent data from IPPR shows that 84 per cent of beds are now provided by the private sector, up from an estimated 82 per cent in 2015. The IPPR argues that: 

  • Social care’s reliance on private bed provision is growing
  • Larger providers – particularly those funded by private equity firms – are becoming more dominant.
  • A growing reliance on private provision could mean lower quality care

Within the paper, the IPPR calls for a bold set of policy interventions to arrest the growth of debt-fuelled private social care provision and oversee the existing sector. This should include:

  1.  the creation of a powerful national financial care regulator – OfCare – to oversee the financial regulation of systemically important care providers
  2.  a new requirement that ensures all state-funded providers of care maintain a ‘safe’ level of reserves and demonstrate they are paying their fair share of tax in the UK
  3. a commitment by government to build the 75,000 beds needed to by 2030 through
    borrowing worth £7.5 billion
  4.  the care for these homes should either be provided by the state or by innovative not-for-profit providers, building on the success of the ‘Preston Model’.

Full report available at IPPR

National Data Guardian 2018-19 report

National Data Guardian | August 2019 | National Data Guardian 2018-19 report

The National Data Guardian (NDG) has published a report reviewing the period between January 2018 to March 2019. 

National Data Guardian for Health and Care Progress Report January 2018-19 looks back over the work of Dame Fiona Caldicott as National Data Guardian for Health and Social Care in England. It also outlines the work that the Panel and  Dame Fiona Caldicott have carried out since January 2018 to uphold those principles.
Image source:

She describes the progress made against the eight work priorities set in her 2017 report, and outlines the NDG’s new priorities for 2019 onwards – her first set of work commitments since the NDG role became statutory on 1st April 2019.

The National Data Guardian for Health and Care Progress Report: January 2018-March 2019

Creating the right framework to realise the benefits of health data

Department of Health and Social Care | July 2019 | Creating the right framework to realise the benefits of health data

This document provides an update on the development of government policy to:

  • establish guiding principles and a framework to help the NHS realise benefits for patients and the public where the NHS shares data with researchers
  • establish a National Centre of Expertise to provide specialist advice and guidance to the NHS on agreements for use of data


The aim of the principles is to ensure that the NHS, patients and the public gain fair benefit from agreements involving the sharing of health and care data.

These agreements are intended to inspire public trust, through maintaining the highest standards of transparency and ethical data handling.

Read the guidance online:

Creating the right framework to realise the benefits for patients and the NHS where data underpins innovation


Innovating with NHS data

Public attitudes to organisations innovating with NHS data | National Data Guardian


The National Data Guardian (NDG) has released findings from a poll on public attitudes to NHS organisations working with partners to use data to develop new medicines and technologies to improve health.

The poll tested what the public thought would be fair when partnerships with universities or private companies result in valuable new discoveries that could be traded commercially.  It found strong support for the idea that NHS and patients should benefit from such partnerships although significant proportions of respondents said they neither agreed nor disagreed with whether the range of benefits was fair.

The NDG is now calling for a debate about the relationships between the NHS and those innovating with NHS data.

Full detail: NDG poll findings

Using data-driven technologies to transform mental healthcare

Making the right choices: Using data-driven technologies to transform mental healthcare | Reform 

This report examines the current landscape of data-driven technologies and their applications in mental healthcare, highlighting areas where these tools offer the most potential for the NHS and its patients.  It discusses what makes mental health different from other areas of health, and the implications this has for the application of data-driven tools. It examines barriers to implementation, and proposes ways to move forward.

Key recommendations:

  • The National Institute for Care and Health Excellence should make guidelines and protocols machine-readable to inform Clinical Decision Support Systems used in mental healthcare. This would make the guidelines more accessible to frontline practitioners and enable the guidelines to be continuously improved in accordance with up-to-date clinical evidence.
  • In order to improve understanding of mental health conditions, NHS Digital should develop a repository using data held by NHS organisations to help researchers securely identify suitable participants for mental health research studies and assess the feasibility of research projects at early stages. Similar governance frameworks to the Scottish Health Research Register should be employed.
  • NHSX should require all healthcare providers to design interoperable systems and ensure data portability. This would allow data generated from technologies such as wearables and sensors to be transferred across platforms.

Full report: Making the right choices: Using data-driven technologies to transform mental healthcare

Data-Driven Tech in Mental Healthcare: Why is this research important?



Challenges in using data across government

National Audit Office | June 2019 | Challenges in using data across government

The National Audit Office has published Challenges in using data across government, this report sets out the National Audit Office’s experience of data across government, including initial efforts to start to address the issues. From their past work we have identified three areas where government needs to establish the pre-conditions for success: clear strategy and leadership; a coherent infrastructure for managing data; and broader enablers to safeguard and support the better use of data. In this report they consider:

  • the current data landscape across government;
  • how government needs a clear plan and leadership to improve its use of data;
  • the quality, standards and systems needed to use data effectively; and
  • wider conditions and enablers for success.

See also:

National Audit Office Challenges in using data across government [press release]

Full report Challenges in using data across government 

Summary- Challenges in using data across government 


A data-driven approach to cancer care

This publication brings together healthcare experts to discuss the potential of a data-driven approach to cancer care. 


The following articles show how data are currently shaping the delivery of cancer care, how to gain the most from data that are currently available and how to maximise the potential of this data in the future:

  • Health inequalities data tell an unjust tale of two cities
  • Simple changes could improve cancer care now
  • The right data?
  • The evolution of cancer data to improve patient care
  • Accelerating research and improving patient care
  • Building a picture of patient benefit
  • How NICE can keep pace with science

Full report: A data-driven approach to cancer care | Reform | AbbVie UK

Investing in health and care data analytics

Untapped potential: Investing in health and care data analytics | The Health Foundation


This new report from the Health Foundation highlights key reasons why there should be more investment in analytical capability. The report calls for action and investment across the system so the NHS has the right people with the right tools to interpret and create value from its data. This could result in an NHS that can make faster progress on improving outcomes for patients.

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Key points
  • The NHS generates a huge amount of data. Making better use of this growing mountain of information has the potential to improve care and how services are run.
  • Yet the NHS is failing to make the most of its data because there aren’t enough people with the right analytical skills to make sense of the information that is being collected.
  • More investment is needed in skilled analysts to unlock the full potential of NHS data to benefit patients.


Nine key reasons why there should be more investment in analytical capability:

  • Clinicians can use the insights generated by skilled analysts to improve diagnosis and disease management.
  • National and local NHS leaders can evaluate innovations and new models of care to find out if expected changes and benefits were realised.
  • Board members of local NHS organisations and systems can use analysis to inform changes to service delivery in complex organisations and care systems.
  • Local NHS leaders can improve the way they manage, monitor and improve care quality day-to-day.
  • Senior NHS decision makers can better measure and evaluate improvements and respond effectively to national incentives and regulation.
  • Managers can make complex decisions about allocating limited resources and setting priorities for care.
  • Local NHS leaders will gain a better understanding of how patients flow through the system.
  • New digital tools can be developed and new data interpreted so clinicians and managers can better collaborate and use their insights to improve care.
  • Patients and the public will be able to better use and understand health care data.

Full report: Untapped potential: Investing in health and care data analytics | The Health Foundation