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Friday 09 December 2022

Wessex health data boost for research and innovation

Health researchers will access secure and life-saving data through a new digital platform in Wessex.

The Secure Data Environment is part of a country-wide network announced in a £13.5 million investment.

This will help unleash data’s potential to transform health services, improve outcomes and save lives.

The Wessex regional SDE is led by University Hospital Southampton (UHS) with regional partners including the Hampshire IOW and Dorset ICS and supported by Wessex Health Partners.

What are Secure Data Environments?

Secure Data Environments (SDEs) are data storage and access platforms.

They uphold the highest standards of privacy and security of NHS health and social care data when used for research and analysis.

They allow approved users to access and analyse data without the data leaving the environment.

SDEs are being advanced as part of £200m of joint funding across NHS England, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

Regional investment

The new £13.5m investment from NHS England’s Data for Research and Development Programme will create 11 Sub National Secure Data Environments.

They will each cover around five million people. Together, they will deliver individual scale and collective national coverage.

Wessex is part of this first round and includes Hampshire, Wiltshire, Dorset and the Isle of Wight.

Prof Christopher Kipps, UHS Clinical Director of Research & Development, said:

“Health data has huge potential to enhance patient care, sustain the NHS and support innovation through research. I am delighted that Wessex has been supported to develop an SDE and look forward to working with our regional partners to deliver innovative solutions to health and social care problems using healthcare data.”

Patient and public input

These SDEs for research will offer near-real time, privacy protecting, access to multimodal data. Further investment is planned in 2023/24 and 2024/25.

The development of the network has been shaped by meaningful conversations with patients and the public.

You can read more about the Sub National SDEs in a new blog by Dr Claire Bloomfield, Deputy Director of Data for R&D.