Government push on data for research

There has been a major push from the UK Government on the use of data for clinical and life sciences research.  This was highlighted in the autumn statement, and a Prime Ministerial statement on 5th December 2011.

The Autumn Statement included the following with regard to the publication of data:

• Linking primary and secondary healthcare datasets – The Government will provide a service to link primary and secondary healthcare datasets from September 2012 to reinforce the UK’s position as a global centre for research and analytics and boost UK life sciences.

• Publishing prescribing data – The Government will publish further prescribing data by September 2012 and additional health and social care datasets by September 2013 to support health and social care data-based product and analytics markets.

• Fit note data – The Government will consult on the content of anonymised fit note data to be published from 2012 to drive innovation in the occupational health sector and improve management of sickness absence.

• Personal data – The Government will ensure all NHS patients can access their personal GP records online by the end of this Parliament. The Government will publish a new procurement arrangement for school information and learning services in spring 2012 to improve parents’ and pupils’ access to education data and increase competition in provision of learning services.

Click here for "Further Detail on Open Data Measures Published in the 2011 Autumn Statement" in which the Government contends that "More often than not, large tracts of public sector information remain unanalysed and under-used in Departments due to resource constraints, low awareness of value, and cultural unwillingness to make this data available".

The National Institute for Health Research has produced this leaflet on the issue which is being sent to all GPs in Scotland.