Doctors call for greater scrutiny of NHS bidders • Register

A family doctors’ conference has called on the UK’s medics’ union to help ensure bidders for the NHS Federated Data Platform (FDP) contract have a positive track record on security, privacy and ethics.

In London yesterday the BMA’s GPs Committee hosted a conference of representatives from England’s Local Medical Committees (LMCs) which backed a proposal to increase scrutiny of the controversial data system.

Dr Katie Bramall-Steiner, CEO of Cambridgeshire LMC, said recent news reports and comments from the National Data Guardian (NDG) suggested there was “no business involved in palliancy” on the £360 million ($435 million) FDP project, for which NHS England will purchase next week. is set to begin.

“NHS England is still peddling the line that procurement has not yet started and other players are bidding for the work,” Dr Bramall-Steiner said. “But new NDG Dr Nicola Byrne – as did her predecessor Dame Fiona Caldicott – continues to stress the importance of public and professional trust to the success of the FDP programme.

“There are important lessons to be learned from history to avoid those mistakes. NHS England needs to keep [those lessons] Remember and engage with our critical themes, because they are so important to our patients and our profession.”

The proposal, backed by the conference, which helps guide policy decisions by the BMA’s powerful GPs Committee, calls on the union to work with NHS England to vet firms submitting tenders to ensure a demonstrably positive track record on safety, privacy and ethics.

Mark Coley, leader of the GPs Committee’s IT policy group, brought the proposal. she said registrar: “We’re not necessarily saying we need to [scrutinize bidders]But there needs to be scrutiny and for NHS England to come up with a process that is trusted by the public and professionals alike.”

The England LMC conference said the BMA should work with NHS England on four existing secure data platforms supported by the BMA and the Royal College of GPs that could provide “some or all of the requirements” for the FDP. It also said they should “mitigate from the outset against vendor lock-in and ensure a commitment to modern, open working methods.”

NHS England began discussing the FDP with providers in April. It said the platform “will be an essential enabler for transformational improvement across the NHS.”

The FDP will provide “an ecosystem of technologies and services implemented across the NHS in England”. FDP will be built on five use cases. They include population health and individual insights; care coordination (integrated care system); selective recovery; Vaccines and Immunization; and supply chain.

Integrated Care Systems (ICS) are new partnerships between NHS organizations that address health and care needs in an area in the hope of coordinating services and planning to improve population health. These are the basis of the 2018 NHS Long Term Plan and were launched in April 2021.

However, campaigners have warned that the acquisition could give Palantir an unfair advantage. The US data analytics firm, with links to the CIA and immigration service ICE, began working with the NHS during the pandemic, accepting a £1 contract for its initial work, then a £23 million ($28 million) contract without competition. That work has been expanded and rolled into FDP.

The deal is considered a “definite win” for Palantir, which is set on the hunt for senior figures in NHS England’s data science and AI teams. Civil service rules stipulate that civil servants should have a six-month gap between leaving public service and starting lobbying. ®