New digital innovation hubs get backing

Plans to transform the way scientists access health data are being backed by £37 million of government investment, to pioneer new, faster treatments for patients and new cures for diseases.

The new Digital Innovation Hubs will enable scientists and innovators to access data from the NHS, universities and social care to deliver more efficient clinical trials. Making data accessible from some of the UK’s major health providers in one place for the first time, the centres will allow experts to research the factors behind many familiar common diseases and identify revealing data trends which may help with finding cures or treatments.

Business Secretary Greg Clark said: “Access to anonymised health data has huge potential to allow us to better understand diseases and develop life-saving new drugs and treatments. The Digital Innovation Hubs, backed by over £37million of Industrial Strategy investment, will ensure researchers, innovators and clinicians can access a large quantity of anonymised data responsibly and ethically - allowing them to pioneer new medicines and treatments. These hubs are a major part of our modern Industrial Strategy, building on the UK’s world leading life sciences sector and health service to the benefit of researchers, industry and patients.”

Health Minister Nicola Blackwood said: “It is absolutely crucial that researchers are able to access the NHS’s world-leading anonymised data so they can develop cutting-edge treatments and solutions to some of healthcare’s biggest challenges. This will mean people can receive new medicines quicker and get more timely diagnoses which will ultimately save lives. As part of our Long Term Plan, we are determined to encourage more innovation in the NHS than ever before so patients benefit from the best medicines and technologies.”

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The NHS is made up of more than 8,000 organisations, with many more across the wider health and care sector.

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