Doctors call for closer scrutiny of NHS bidders • The Register

A GPs conference has called on the UK Doctors Union to help screen bidders for the NHS Federated Data Platform (FDP) contract to ensure they have a positive track record of security, privacy and ethics.

Yesterday in London, the BMA’s GPs Committee hosted a conference of representatives from England’s Local Medical Committees (LMCs) backing a motion for increased testing of the controversial data system.

dr Cambridgeshire LMC CEO Katie Bramall-Stainer said recent news reports and comments from the National Data Guardian (NDG) indicated that “Palantir had nothing to do with involvement in the £360m ($435m) FDP project has to do, for NHS England is due to start sourcing in the coming weeks.

“NHS England is still peddling claims that procurement has not started and there are other players bidding for the job,” said Dr. Bramall Stainer. “But the new NDG Dr. Like her predecessor, Dame Fiona Caldicott, Nicola Byrne continues to emphasize the importance of public and professional trust in the success of the FDP program.

“There are such important lessons from history to avoid making these mistakes. NHS England must comply [those lessons] keep in mind and address our critical issues because it is so important to our patients and our profession.”

The conference-backed motion, which helps steer policy decisions by the BMA’s powerful GPs committee, calls on the union to work with NHS England to screen organizations submitting bids to have a proven positive track record in relation to Ensure security, privacy and ethics.

Mark Coley, head of the GPs Committee’s IT Policy Group, introduced the motion. He said The registry: “We don’t necessarily say that we have to [scrutinize bidders]but review needs to be done and it would be up to NHS England to develop a process that enjoys the confidence of the public and professionals alike.

The LMC England 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 which could meet “some or all of the requirements” for the FDP. One should “mitigate vendor lock-in from the outset and commit to modern, open working methods,” it said.

NHS England began talks about FDP with suppliers in April. The platform is “an essential enabler for transformative improvements across the NHS”.

The FDP would provide “an ecosystem of technologies and services to be implemented across the NHS in England”. The FDP will be based on five use cases. These include population health and people insight; care coordination (integrated care system); elective rehabilitation; vaccines and immunization; and supply chain.

Integrated Care Systems (ICS) are new partnerships between NHS organizations that meet health and care needs in an area with the hope of coordinating services and planning improvements in population health. They are the cornerstone of the 2018 long-term NHS plan and were introduced in April 2021.

However, activists have warned that acquiring it could give Palantir an unfair advantage. The US data analysis firm with ties 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 £23m ($28m) deal with no competition. This work has been expanded and is to be rolled out in the FDP.

The deal is said to be a “must do” for Palantir, which has set out to poach senior figures in NHS England’s data science and AI teams. Civil service regulations state that there should be a six-month gap between when civil servants retire from public service and when they start lobbying. ®

https://www.theregister.com/2022/11/25/family_doctors_conference_calls_for/ Doctors call for closer scrutiny of NHS bidders • The Register

Rick Schindler

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