Almost half of adults will opt out of sharing health data with the NHS if Palantir gets the £480m Federated Data Platform contract – read our report to parliament on seven key risks
We’ve put together a report laying out the risks posed to the NHS by the proposed Federated Data Platform and Palantir, the frontrunner for the £480m contract.
US spy tech firm Palantir is the last company anyone should want in the health service.
Its work is mainly in military, security, and policing. Palantir’s chair and largest shareholder, Peter Thiel, is a supporter of Donald Trump who described British love of the NHS as “Stockholm Syndrome” adding: “In theory, you just rip the whole thing from the ground and start over.”
The report lays out seven key risks. Perhaps most urgent is the existential threat posed to the future integrity of our health data.
Previous attempts to centralise NHS data into a gigantic piggybank, like care.data and General Practice Data for Planning and Research (GPDPR) – otherwise known as the GP Data Grab – failed because they didn’t convince patients they could be trusted with their data. Patients voted with their feet in huge numbers, with over a million opting out of the Data Grab in less than a month.
Along with our partners at the Doctors Association UK, we worked with YouGov to look at the potential number of opt-outs that could be triggered by the Federated Data Platform.
The results were terrifying.
They showed that if the Federated Data Platform is brought in and run by a private company – like Palantir – 48% of adults in England who have not yet opted out are likely to do so. That would mean more than 20 million people stopping sharing their health data, except for direct care, with the NHS.
If even half that figure stopped sharing their health data it would be catastrophic for the future quality of NHS data – one of the most precious health resources we have as a country.
Will you join us in urging MPs to hit pause on Palantir and the Federated Data Platform until this serious threat has been removed? Hit the button below to starting writing.
At a debate in the House of Lords, the government was asked if it recognised this risk. It dodged the question. That’s not good enough – so we’re urging MPs to ask the government to hit pause on this deal until we’ve a real answer on how this nightmare situation will be avoided.
Here’s are the other six key risks laid out in the report:
- A flawed procurement process – Palantir is in the frontrunner largely thanks to pandemic opportunism and a problematic lobbying operation.
- A poorly defined and shifting project scope – which bears hallmarks of previous government procurement catastrophes.
- Over-centralisation – which will further damage public trust in the NHS, create needless coordination challenges and security risks, and stifle local and regional innovation.
- Monopoly lock-in – which would entrench NHS dependency on Palantir, block integration with other NHS systems, and obstruct innovation on other platforms.
- Palantir’s poor reputation – its long association with US security and surveillance operations, and a Trump-supporting, NHS-bashing owner, risks driving people away from feeling safe using NHS services.
- Pilot failures being ignored – there is a lack of transparency around the evidence used to claim that Palantir’s platform Foundry has worked for the health service. NHS professionals are telling us off-the-record that significant problems are being glossed over and many pilots have been suspended for failure to work.
A parliamentary question from David Davis MP in March revealed that at least eleven of these pilots have been suspended or paused. Who knows how much these failures have cost the NHS already, when budgets are already strained beyond breaking point – and the unseen cost on patients, from Palantir’s tools failing to work as advertised?
For all these reasons, we’re asking MPs to tell the government to pause this procurement before it’s too late and make sure the future of our health data – and entire NHS – is kept safe. Hit the button below to join us and write to your MP now:
You can read the full report here: https://www.foxglove.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2023/06/2023_06_05-FINAL-The-NHS-Federated-Data-Platform-and-Palantir.pdf