WANTED: One fridge for Palantir’s Louis Mosley to hide in after ducking out of Foxglove debate

Was it something we said?

Palantir’s UK head Louis Mosley has pulled out of a face-to-face debate with our Cori Crider on the future of NHS data and the Federated Data Platform, scheduled for next week at Digital Health’s Rewired Conference. 

Maybe we’ll have to start calling him Louis No-Showsley instead.

Joking aside, the truth is we’re very disappointed. The battle for the future of NHS data and how it’s used and protected is a battle for the future of the health service. It’s critically important for everyone who loves the NHS and needs it to thrive. 

That’s why we’re not keen on the £480m FDP contract going to a company chaired by a man on record as saying he thinks that you should: “rip the whole thing from the ground and start over”. 

But our beef isn’t just with Palantir. Data scientists and NHS managers have told us the FDP isn’t value for money and will lock the NHS in for years to private providers for vital infrastructure.  

So we were looking forward to arguing – in an open and fair way – the merits of the half-a-billion pound NHS Federated Data Platform, for which Palantir is the frontrunner.

But if Palantir aren’t up for it, maybe the government officials behind it will be?

That’s why we’re inviting NHS England’s Chief Data and Analytics Officer Ming Tang, one of the driving forces behind the Federated Data Platform, to step up instead.

Don’t forget – there’s now a ‘Best-of-British’ rival offer on the table from a consortium of home-grown tech firms, who propose doing the same thing as Palantir for a LOT less cash. 

On top of that, we’re still yet to hear a decent reason why the OpenSAFELY system, created by Dr Ben Goldcare, couldn’t be used, or at least adapted, to do much of this work.

OpenSAFELY is already relied on to provide research services using NHS data in a way that is open-source, secure and safe. And best of all, the NHS already has it – so half a billion pounds could go to one of the many other places it is sorely needed. 

Finally, all this is happening while the NHS’s own data science staffing is being slashed. So instead of NHS improving its own tech capacity, cash will go to pricey Palantir consultants. This is a triumph of ‘government by consultant’, and it is a bad look for the long-term health of the NHS.

We very much hope Ms Tang will take us up on the opportunity to discuss these matters, and much more, in detail. 

Hit the button below and use our quick tool to write to your MP and ask them to help throw Palantir out of the NHS – once and for all.