The Secretary of State for Health & Social Care and NHS England has asked NHS digital to counter the spread of the coronavirus in the following ways:
- Help nurses, doctors and other health professionals to understand the virus better by collecting and analysing data
- Identify those who are vulnerable to the disease
- Help the NHS understand the Coronavirus with information and advice so that they can do their jobs more efficiently
NHS Digital collects, analyses and disseminate health and social care data in a lawful way making it the national safe haven for patient data. NHS Digital has various national services including the NHS App, 111 online and the NHS.UK website which are the pivotal platforms regarding the response, information and advice about the Coronavirus.
New services can be delivered and data used more efficiently with the legal directions given by NHS England and Secretary of State for Health and Social Care. Existing powers can now help with the effective response to the outbreak.
Under the ‘Control of Patient Information’, The Secretary of State for Health has issued a notice authorising NHS Digital to be able to share information with approved organisations which will help them effectively tackle this pandemic.
Dr Jem Rashbass, Executive Director of Master Registries and Data at NHS Digital said:
“This is a rapidly moving situation and data is key to helping us understand how best to protect individuals at risk, know what is happening to patients and ensure that the NHS under pressure can deliver effectively. We are facing one of the most significant challenges in modern times and information about the virus, and people’s experience of it, is key to the research in pursuit of a vaccine or to gain new insights about the disease.
“NHS Digital will work closely with trusted partners to ensure that data is collected, analysed and disseminated in a way which best supports the whole system.”