NHS England hiring someone Responsible for care.data

NHS England are hiring for a new Senior Responsible Owner for Care.Data, having  internally failed to find someone willing to be responsible for fixing the mess.

The Senior Responsible Owner is the individual who must sign off on major decisions, and is responsible for project delivery. Heretofore, Tim Kelsey has been in the role, and we can see why he would like to pass responsibility onto others. Whether he’ll remain pulling the strings behind the scenes, is a different matter. It wouldn’t be the first time that Tim has looked for a human shield for his programme, having tried to persuade Geraint Lewis and more junior staff as a press buffer.

Hopefully a new external owner will accept the state of the mess they inherit, and as that new entrant, they may wish to ask some questions at interview:

  1. If individually addressed letters to each patient are sent, will this be financially and politically supported by NHS England?
  2. Are forward looking statements re free text true? How will the public position change over the course of my responsibility?
  3. Are forward looking statements re DNA true? How will the public position change over the course of my responsibility?
  4. What will happen to CPRD, and other research supporting datasets?
  5. What is the state of the implementation of the more sensitive parts of the IGAR review?
  6. What was the process that led to the BMA rejecting these proposals so emphatically? What concessions have NHS England offered to meet those concerns? Why do NHS England believe they failed?
  7. care.data has had many benefits claimed for research, ie beyond the commissioning for which it is currently permitted. What is the current roadmap for consent for those? If they are so vital, why were they dropped in the first instance?

We would hope that any successful applicant understands why people would choose to opt out, and would not demonise them for that choice, nor consider them a “consent fetishist”. We do not believe that the personal choice of any candidate to opt-in or opt-out is relevant to their suitability for the role, but they must be able to demonstrate a human understanding of the range of reasons that an individual may make a different choice to theirs. We hope the interview panel will ensure this is the case.

We look forward to working with the successful applicant for the role when they take office. If you’re interested in applying, details are here, and feel free to ask the the above questions. If you get the job, we’ll be asking you for the answers.