The must read stories and talking points in the NHS


Tensions over who controls NHS patient data (and to what purpose) are rising again, with the national data guardian, Dame Fiona Caldicott, raising the specter of as a warning to the government.

The defunct, controversial data sharing scheme, finally scrapped in July last year, casts a long shadow.

Teh government has only recently started ramping up efforts to create a new patient data sharing scheme and wants to avoid any association with the phrase “”.

However, Dame Fiona raises two important risks to any new scheme, which the Department of Health should be mindful of as it grapples with the shape of a replacement.

Both rest on keeping any such scheme in line with the public expectations and avoiding surprises that could further erode shaky public trust in the handling of their health data.

This is the test that failed to pass.

First, the government must involve the public in deep and wide conversations about the level of control they will be given over their data (the ”national opt-out scheme”).

With an opt-out proposal due in March, Dame Fiona suggests time is running out for this dialogue.

Second, carving out too many datasets where patients will not control their data risks undermining the credibility of the entire project.

In the NDG’s view, there are too many organisations pleading special circumstances with the DH, which should instead be making their cases directly to patients.

The contrary view is that the integrity of these datasets, namely disease registries and national patient surveys, is so vital that allowing patients to opt-out would put lives at risk.

Navigating between public expectations (and suspicions) about handling their data and maintaining, or even improving, care quality will be crucial if any successor to is to work.

Keep it 100

After the political upheaval of the summer, the HSJ100 wears a more settled look – but appearances can be deceptive.

The same five individuals occupy the top spots in the 2017 HSJ100 as did in the refreshed rankings produced after the general election, but their interactions will be very different, as Alastair McLellan explains.

The 100 is a ranking of those people who will exercise the greatest influence over the English NHS and health policy between now and November 2018. Established in 2005, the power list is judged by some of the most knowledgeable and experienced figures in healthcare leadership.

See the full list on