Palantir wins £330mn NHS data contract

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US data analytics group Palantir has secured the NHS’s lucrative “federated data platform” contract worth £330mn, the body announced on Tuesday.

Led by chief executive Alex Karp and co-founded by Peter Thiel, the tech investor and prominent backer of Donald Trump, Palantir became the go-to data analytics provider for Britain’s health service during the pandemic.

Accenture, PwC, NECS and Carnall Farrar will all support Palantir, NHS England said on Tuesday. “No company involved in the Federated Data Platform can access health and care data without the explicit permission of the NHS,” it added.

NHS England said that deal will be worth “up to £330mn” over seven years.

Responding to the announcement, Karp said: “This award is the culmination of 20 years of developing software that enables complex, sensitive data to be integrated in a way that protects security, respects privacy and puts the customer in full control.”

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“There is no more important institution in the UK than the NHS and we are humbled to have now been chosen to provide that software across England to help bring down waiting lists, improve patient care and reduce health inequalities,” he added.

Palantir is best known for its ties to the security, defence and intelligence sectors. In recent months NHS staff and medical trade unions have voiced concerns about its suitability to run national health systems as well as the dangers of the NHS relying on a single private company for key functions.

Vin Diwakar, NHS England’s national medical director for secondary care, said: “Better use of data is essential for the NHS to tackle waiting times, join up patient care and make the health service sustainable for the future”.