Government invests £200m in health data research

Today, the government announced funding of up to £200 million to be invested in enabling research to better access NHS data through trusted research environments and digital clinical trial services.

They say it will make crucial data safer and more quickly available for research, while providing the highest levels of privacy. It will also ensure the NHS is able to get lifesaving new treatments to patients faster and support more diverse and inclusive clinical research to tackle health inequalities and improve patient care.

By accelerating and facilitating the setting up and running of clinical trials, this funding will also help to ensure that the UK continues to be at the forefront of life science research. New infrastructure will support efforts to improve the nation’s health and realize the life sciences vision, including in critical areas
such as cancer, cardiovascular medicine and mental health.

Open the way

Reacting to the announcement, our Medical Director, Professor Sir Nilesh Samani said:

“We welcome this news. The pandemic has demonstrated how access to routinely collected health data for research is essential to improving the diagnosis, treatment and care of people.

“At BHF, we have led the way in unlocking the vast potential of health data in a secure way that protects patient privacy through our creation of the BHF Data Science Center. Together with others, including NHS Digital , the Data Science Center has established a reliable research environment that allows researchers access to health data while maintaining patient confidentiality.

“The Center has already deepened our understanding of the effects of Covid-19 on our heart and circulatory system, helping doctors treat those most seriously affected. It has also helped us understand the impact of the pandemic on healthcare across the NHS, allowing us to direct efforts where they are most needed to keep people healthy and providing vital information on vaccine safety.

“This new funding will strengthen the ability of the NHS to take this approach across all areas of healthcare, helping them deliver the best possible care and enabling researchers to deliver new and better treatments to improve health for all. We look forward to working with the NHS and other partners to realize the full potential of this initiative for the benefit of patients.

The government also announced £60 million to help support the development of medical innovations such as cell and gene therapies, older and better diagnostic technologies and medical devices.

find out more about the bhf data science center

Sean N. Ayres