Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 11th June 2019.

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Photo of Philip Dunne Philip Dunne Conservative, Ludlow

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the recommendations made by the Commission on the Future of Surgery, published by the Royal College of Surgeons, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the (a) interoperability and (b) safe data sharing of different data systems.

Photo of Jackie Doyle-Price Jackie Doyle-Price The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

On 17 October 2018, NHS Digital published the National Health Service digital, data and technology standards framework setting out key expectations for the use of data, interoperability, security and design standards within the NHS at the following link:

Specifically, it sets out that all NHS digital, data and technology services should support Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources-based application programming interfaces to enable the delivery of seamless care across organisational boundaries.

The Department has also created NHSX - a new unit dedicated to improving the technology experience within the NHS. NHSX has committed to ensure that future IT systems procured or developed by the NHS will adhere to a range of standards covering the content and format of information as well as ensuring any sharing of information meets the highest standards of safety and privacy.

Safe data sharing is vital to the health and care system. We have already put in over £60 million to improve cyber resilience in hospitals and ambulance services and we’re continuing to invest in capabilities to prevent, detect and respond to cyber-attacks in real time. In addition, all organisations that have access to NHS patient data must complete the Data Security and Protection Toolkit which includes a single set of standards to help them improve their cyber security and carry out self-assessments to measure how well they are doing, and how much they still need to do.

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