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

A leaked copy of a government review has revealed plans to enable greater sharing of patient data, saying it would help improve safety for people who have been wrongly prescribed drugs.

A draft copy of the report on overprescribing, which was commissioned by Matt Hancock almost two years ago, raises concerns that clinicians cannot see what is being prescribed by doctors elsewhere in the system.

This adds to the long-running saga of major interoperability problems in the NHS, preventing different parts of the health system sharing patient records with each other. The report says that wider access should be given to patient data, which would ensure “many eyes” are looking at it to detect patterns and problems.

The series of recommendations given in Mr Hancock’s review seem logical, especially given the daily struggles clinicians face in providing the right care for patients when they don’t have access to their records.

However, the wording is questionable – outlining plans to get “many eyes” on anonymous patient data would naturally be a cause for concern given the lack of public trust around data sharing.

Roll-out rolled back

The national roll-out of an expansion of services for patients recovering from coronavirus has been delayed until at least January 2021, HSJ has learned.

In July, NHS England hailed a “ground breaking” new service with the launch of a website with information for patients on how to recover from covid following hospital discharge. It promised a second phase of the service would allow patients to be connected with health professionals for more tailored support, to be launched “later this summer”.

But in a memo sent to professional bodies on 30 October, NHSE said the national roll-out was delayed until at least January 2021, with no date confirmed for the launch beyond that.