NHS England plans “large-scale engagement events” to gather public views on digital and data

NHS England has shared plans to spend up to £2 million in funding on “large-scale engagement events” to gather public views on digital and data transformation in the NHS, with the feedback to help shape how health data is used to improve patient care.

Expected to begin in 2024, topics covered during the events will include the Federated Data Platform and will build on the Powered by Data campaign launched by NHS England in June showcase the benefits delivered by health data for patients and for society.

As part of the engagement events, the public will be able to learn more about the programmes outlined in the Data Saves Lives strategy, with NHSE noting that the events will also support the system in meeting its data strategy commitments to develop products with public involvement.

Dr Vin Diwakar, national director of transformation at NHS England, states: “Public support is integral to how we better use data to improve care – and the best way to do this is through effective and meaningful engagement. Over the course of next year, we will continue to highlight how data is used across the health and care system and it is vital that we involve the public in shaping future data use and how it can save lives.”

Chief executive of the Patients Association, Rachel Power, comments: “Our new report on a possible data pact between the NHS and patients shows patients recognise the potential for data use to improve care. But it also highlighted how sceptical many patients are. The Patients Association supports a transparent and genuine public engagement programme on how patient data are used. We’d encourage all patients to get involved.”

NHS England recently shared its October board papers, with discussion highlighting the role of digital, data and technology in a number of key areas including tackling health inequalities in caring for people with learning disabilities and autism, accelerating genomics research and improving safety in maternity care.

In September, NHSE also published its business plan for 2023-2024, setting out plans to address challenges including health inequalities, access to primary care services, elective long waits and ambulance response, as well as highlighting the intention to “transform care through harnessing data, information and technology”.