Failed plans to digitise NHS patient records could be saved by using onshore IT contractors, according to Bhuwan Kaushik, CEO of Spectromax Solutions.

The government’s Care.Data programme aimed to extract anonymous patient data from GPs, before sticking it in a central database held by the Health and Social Care Information Centre.

But the plans were scrapped by NHS England earlier this year. Issues had been raised from the off, particularly around data storage, data sensitivity, and the introduction of third party suppliers at various points.

At the time, George Freeman, health and life sciences minister, said the government ‘remains committed to realising the benefits of sharing information’.

Writing for ITProPortal, Kaushik outlined his belief that for any future project to be successful, transparency was key.

“People need to be confident that their most personal data is protected using state of the art cyber security technology,” he said. “They also need to know exactly who will have access to their data and how it will be used. At no point did the government offer such assurances for Care.Data.”

But according to Kaushik, employing on-shore IT contractors could help alleviate public fears about lost data and could boost public perception of what the NHS is trying to do when it comes to digitising patient records.

“The government needs to choose the right IT project team,” he said. “With so many variables and so much at stake for the public and government alike, the project team needs specialist knowledge of working on public sector and NHS projects. Likewise, the project drew a lot of criticism for bringing in third party suppliers from outside the UK, such as Google, and the government could easily remedy this by employing on-shore IT contractors who have local knowledge and understand the complexities and sensitivities around working in the NHS.”