The Prime Minister will announce on Monday plans to allow patients records and other NHS data to be shared with private ‘life science’ companies.
Tomorrow he will argue that giving researchers access to the NHS information will make it easier for them to develop and test new drugs and treatment. The idea proposed is to cut current regulation that restricts collaboration of this kind which he feels could boost the life science industry, which already employs 160,000 people in the UK, with an annual turnover of £50bn.
The shadow health secretary, Andy Burnham in the Sunday Telegrapgh today said that he was not opposed to the idea in principle, but warned that the government should have safeguards in place because of the nature of the sensitive and confidential NHS information that the private firms access could have access to.
Downing Street has said that the move is to help the the UK’s life sciences industry. become a market leader in this field “We want to see much closer collaboration between the NHS and life science companies – not just greater data-sharing, but more clinical trials in hospitals.” The changes it envisages are designed not only to boost this particular industry, but also potentially give the NHS early access to new and innovative drug treatments it beleives.