The purpose of this document is to provide 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

Our shared goal, working with partners across the healthcare system and working hand-in-hand with NHS England and NHS Improvement, is to improve outcomes for patients, make the NHS more efficient and cost effective, and contribute to making the UK home to the latest data-driven scientific advances in healthcare.

Our starting point is that the government wants NHS partnerships to flourish within the strictest parameters of transparency and accountability. We recognise that each partnership will be different, and that there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution.

Some datasets may increasingly be made openly available to enable innovators to develop solutions to some of our greatest healthcare and technology challenges, but we also anticipate that NHS organisations will enter increasing numbers of arrangements for better use of data, where it is right that NHS patients benefit directly from the innovations enabled using NHS data.

Better use of data between the NHS and partners has the potential to improve diagnosis, treatment, experience of care, efficiency of the system and overall outcomes for the people at the heart of the NHS, public health and the wider healthcare system.

It must be done so in a way which is safe, ethical, evidenced and transparent. People need to know that data about them is being used to develop and test these healthcare solutions, and that their privacy and rights are safeguarded. For this reason, and to enable partnerships between the NHS and partners to thrive, we have developed 5 guiding principles.


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