Data saves lives. There is no clearer demonstration of this than our response to the pandemic, which has been fuelled by data. It has allowed us to bring down the number of deaths and hospitalisations from COVID-19 by creating a Shielded Patients’ List to protect the most vulnerable; prioritise at-risk groups for early vaccination; helped us prove the effectiveness of certain drugs such as dexamethasone which is estimated to have saved a million lives already; and it is helping us better understand and treat Long Covid.
GP Data Saves Lives
Simon Bolton, Interim CEO of NHS Digital, explains why we are giving people more time to reflect on the launch of the GP Data for Planning and Research (GPDPR).
9 June 2021
We have been using GP data for many years to better understand and develop cures for all types of serious illnesses and plan the most effective services for the NHS. Beyond the pandemic, it has helped us identify and test diabetic people who are most at risk of losing their sight and ensure they are treated early enough to prevent blindness. And it allows us to analyse if there are disparities in care for groups, such as people with learning disabilities, so we can prioritise and improve services for them.
None of this could have happened without being able to collect and analyse patient data from across the health and care system.
The current system for collecting patient data is over 10 years old and outdated. The new programme is called GP Data for Planning and Research and it has been developed in collaboration with doctors, patients and experts in data, privacy and ethics.
This new system will deliver better health and care outcomes for people across the country and we are absolutely determined to take people with us on this crucial mission. That is why the new system will start on 1 September, giving us an extra two months which we will spend in conversation with patients, doctors, health charities and others to strengthen the plan even further.
NHS Digital’s daily collection of GP data will provide data to support vital health and care planning and research.