Intended for healthcare professionals


A controversial new federated data platform for the NHS in England

BMJ 2023; 383 doi: (Published 29 November 2023) Cite this as: BMJ 2023;383:p2776
  1. Jessica Morley, DPhil student1,
  2. Joe Zhang, intensive care doctor and data scientist2
  1. 1Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford, Oxford UK
  2. 2Institute of Global Health Innovation, Imperial College London, London UK
  1. Correspondence to: J Morley jessica.morley{at}

Concerns include value for money and lack of public trust in the supplier

On 21 November, NHS England announced the procurement of a federated data platform (FDP) for the NHS in England.1 The FDP, which aims to join separate data sources from across the NHS, is now one of the largest and most ambitious health data infrastructure projects in the world. The £330m contract was awarded to the US software and analytics company Palantir.

That the NHS information infrastructure needs updating is undeniable; the new FDP hopes to deliver better care by making siloed data sources accessible to a wider range of users and providing a single platform for specific user groups to conduct analyses at local, regional, and national scale. In theory, this will enable system managers to gain deeper insight into health needs and provide more targeted, effective, and efficient services. Yet, despite great promise, the FDP has been controversial from the start.2

Much of the controversy can be attributed to lack of public trust in the procurement process and in the newly designated supplier. Palantir is controversial for several reasons,3 including its work with the US Department of Homeland Security and US Immigration …

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