NHS England’s Federated Data Platform (FDP) procurement risks setting back data sharing in the NHS by fanning privacy fears over approach and potential choice of supplier, if the £480m contract were to be awarded to incumbent Palantir.
This was the central argument put forward at a special debate on FDP that closed Digital Health’s Rewired conference last week.
Cori Crider, co-founder of non-profit legal advocacy group Foxglove, which campaigns to make technology fair for all, spoke at the session alongside Marcus Baw, a clinical informatics and GP IT consultant, and a cardboard cut-out OF Palantir’s UK boss Louis Mosley.
Mosley had been due to speak in the debate on approaches to making most effective use of patient data, but later withdrew.
The speakers argued that NHS England has insufficiently thought out its proposed FDP and risks endangering the safety and confidentiality of the personal data of millions of patients if it awards the full tender for the project to US data analytics giant Palantir.
Both Crider and Baw criticised the lack of transparency in the tendering process for the FDP contract, stating that it left Palantir with a clear advantage due to its initial offer during the Covid-19 pandemic to help the government manage Covid data at no cost.
They also argued Palantir’s work with intelligence and security services in the U.S. made it a questionable choice for managing NHS England’s trove of personal health data and suggested that Palantir’s public comments on the process suggested it was largely interested in monetising the data at a later point.