The government’s plans for the NHS: tell us what you think!

Last year, thousands of you backed our coalition’s campaign to stop the NHS Data Grab. In the end, over a million people – including the government’s own health data guru Dr Ben Goldacre – opted out of the scheme, forcing it to be scrapped. 

Having failed in their attempts to pool GP data in the NHS Data Grab, the government appears to be trying to centralise control of our health data in a different way. They recently announced plans for a ‘Federated Data Platform’: a vast new £360m health data system with spy-tech firm Palantir as the front runner for the contract. 

What’s it for? Details are murky – but the plan seems to be for more and more control over your health records to be taken from caregivers, like your GP, and put in the hands of central government decision–makers at NHS England.

Don’t be fooled by the branding – these folks are officials, not clinicians. 

Some doctors fear this will jeopardise the doctor-patient relationship. Sure, some aspects of care can be centrally managed – most people don’t mind getting a text to book a Covid vaccine appointment. But what about when a central government department starts asking you about weight management? Or teen contraceptives? Some things we just want to talk about with a doctor – face to face, in private. 

And once central government is able to access this data under the umbrella of giving us ‘care’, without super-careful safeguards, we’re already on the slippery slope to access by private researchers and pharma firms for profit.  

Finally, no dashboard can address the decades of underfunding in the NHS that have created acute staffing shortages.  

People have the right to know and decide what’s done with their health record. The NHS’s value comes from the brilliant doctors and nurses whom we trust to care for us – and that trust has to be preserved. 

Please take two minutes to tell us what you think by hitting the link below.

Foxglove and our partners Just Treatment, The Doctors’ Association UK and the National Pensioners’ Convention have serious concerns about these plans. We’ve already sent a legal letter. We will keep you posted as this work progresses.