The must-read stories and debate in health policy and leadership.

The government proudly trumpeted its new NHS data strategy earlier this week, but it must ensure its current data policies do not fall foul of clinicians and the public.

One such policy which is currently causing problems is the decision to let NHS Digital keep data collected from GPs even after a patient has opted out of the delayed GPDPR scheme once it supposedly goes live in September

This lack of opportunity for NHSD to retrospectively delete the data of patients who have triggered a “Type 1 opt-out” (which prevents data from flowing beyond GPs) is not helping placate doctors’ and campaigners’ concerns about GPDPR – according to both the British Medical Association and Royal College of GPs.

Surprisingly, policy makers appear resistant to accept this proposal, which – HSJ has learned – was requested by NHSD itself in the build-up to GPDPR implementation over the last few weeks.

It is not clear why NHSX and/or the Department of Health and Social Care are against the proposal, particularly as it would seem to go some way to reassuring people that their data would not be shared at all once they had opted out.

In any case, a decision on the future of Type 1 opt-outs is due by September, but if the current policy is extended, the government may find it harder to push GPDPR over the line.

Invitation to No.10 

The Number 10 “delivery unit” charged with repairing public services hit by covid is advertising for someone to head up the health side. 

The unit will have the power to “intervene where delivery is slowing”, according to the job advert for a “deputy director”. The successsful applicant and other deputy directors will be led by Emily Lawson, previously a national director and lead of the covid vaccination programme at NHS England.

The directors will “focus departments and delivery partners on the successful delivery of critical outcomes in that area,” the advert says.

For the NHS the main focus is expected to be on reducing elective waiting lists, delivering the “40 new hospitals” promise, and increasing nurse and GP numbers, though the unit will inevitably study other NHS long-term plan objectives.

The job advert says the deputy director will “use the PM’s backing, a wide and trusted network, and a set of intelligent support solutions to intervene effectively where delivery is slowing, to get projects back on track”.