Research

Research is vital in providing the evidence we need to transform services and improve outcomes, such as in developing new models of care, redesigning urgent and emergency care, strengthening primary care and transforming mental health and cancer services.

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Secure Data Environments for research will be the primary way of accessing data, although there may be exemptions in very specific circumstances, such as consented clinical trials. In these cases, the highest standards of security and confidentiality will continue to apply. Any organisation that wants access to data must have a clear and legal reason to do so for health and care purposes (never for insurance or marketing). Only the minimum amount of data needed to meet the specific research purpose will be made available.

When providing external partners (for example researchers and industry) access to data for legally valid reasons, they must meet very high standards around transparency and accountability. These are clearly set out in our five principles governing data-sharing arrangements entered into by NHS organisations, published in July 2019. These principles are also in line with the Data Ethics Framework.