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Region awarded funds for research and development capability

NHS England has confirmed the region will receive a further £7.9million support and accelerate the Secure Data Environment programme.

It is part of the new NHS Research Secure Data Environment Network that will provide secure access across England to healthcare data for approved research and development projects led by academics, NHS employees such as clinical researchers or industry organisations. 

The Integrated Care Board (ICB) for the North East and North Cumbria led the bid along with the Academic Health Science Network for the North East and North Cumbria and Cumbria, NECS, Cumbria, Northumberland and Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust on behalf of the region.

The Secure Data Environment brings research and development staff to the data and allows them to perform powerful analytics using the latest tools and techniques. It is being built to uphold the highest standards of privacy and security of NHS health and social care data when used for research and analysis. Only approved users and projects are allowed to access and analyse data.

It is part of a £175million national investment from NHS England's Data for Research and Development programme to improve secure access to data for research purposes. The vision for the programme is to have a world-leading, NHS-wide health data research infrastructure which improves patient care, supports innovation and research.

The programme is transformational in how research and development staff will access health and care data – which is traditionally a burdensome process. It will speed up access to data for research, whilst also keeping the data safe and means that our population will benefit more quickly from new insights.

Since receiving funding to start the programme earlier this year, initial trial projects have been testing the governance and technical aspects of the programme.

Sam Allen, Chief Executive for the North East and North Cumbria ICB said: “This investment gives our region a unique opportunity to build on the work we have done so far. It means we can work together across the system on research and development projects, linking data together securely and mapping patient journeys. Using this resource will help us to generate new insights and understand more about our services, patient outcomes and helping us to be the best at getting better.”

Professor Graham Evans, Executive Chief Digital and Information Officer for the North Cumbria ICB said: “This investment provides our region with a fantastic asset which means we can create a research rich ecosystem which is also part of the new NHS Research Secure Data Environment Network. The data to support our population is out there but the processes to access the data can be challenging for researchers and healthcare analysts. This programme will help us to use innovative new approaches and make access to health and care data more secure and more efficient for research and service planning.”

The programme is hosting two sessions to explain more about how it will work.

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