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It has been revealed 10 apps have been removed from the NHS’ digital library after they “failed to satisfy assessors” they complied with the general data protection regulation – the infamous new data protection law which came into force in May 2018.
Six of those apps were provided by Public Health England, including popular fitness app Couch to 5k.
According to NHS Digital’s most recent annual accounts, GDPR prompted a review of all 70 apps on the library. Fourteen of those apps failed to demonstrate they met those standards and were given a deadline of March 2019 to prove they did.
But, come deadline day, 10 apps which didn’t provide the necessary information to assessors first time around still hadn’t provided the details and were subsequently pulled from the library.
This might come as a surprise to the many who were encouraged into exercise through Couch to 5k, particularly as it currently has a 4.8-star score from 90,000 ratings on the Apple App store and has been downloaded half-a-million times on the Google Play store.
However, NHS Digital said the apps had no data protection issues before GDPR came into law. Meanwhile, PHE confirm the app was GDPR compliant and said it had been ”aligning our in house standards with NHS Digital’s and will work with them to place our apps in its library”.
Held to account
When the government responded to Sir Robert Naylor’s review of NHS estates, it suggested an extra £700m per year could be generated from land sales to be used for reinvestment.
While that level of income has not been reached, the NHS has managed to increase the amounts generated in the last two years, from around £240m in 2016-17 to £440 in 2018-19.
The receipts only boosted the capital budget by £98m last year, with £343m of the income topping up day-to-day spending instead, as trusts desperately sought to meet their control totals.
NHS Improvement caught on to this midway through last year, and have banned trusts from doing it from April 2019.
The way the system was set up made the accounting “wheeze” a no brainer for many trusts, as it meant they could trigger huge payments from the “provider sustainability fund”.
But those sitting on big piles of PSF cash will now struggle to spend that money, as any spending scores against the national spending limit, which remains extremely tight.