Is NHS Health Data available to actuaries now? Yes...EDIT 27/2/14 NO!

Yesterday the Telegraph ran a story about HES (Hospital Episode Statistics) being linked via postcodes to, for example ACORN profiles, by the predecessor of HSCIC, The dataset was then given to a society of actuaries looking at when people developed critical illnesses. People were very shocked.


  1. As far as we know it wasn't identifiable patient data.
  2. Some thought that maybe the data was being sold to cheaply.
  3. NHSIC replaced by HSCIC are non-commercial organisations which are required to not make a profit from their work. But not so for CPRD, formerly GPRD. They work on a market-based model. The database contains data (primary and secondary care_ on about 5 million UK patients. Their data is in the dataset because their GP has given consent for it to be. GPs receive no payment for opting into CPRD. So is CPRD sold to actuaries? Yes! It was in the past.
  4. This is an article from 2011 where Swiss Re lament than only 3 firms had signed up for this data and handed over £50,000 to access it. But that was 2011, is it still happening now?Yes!  (EDIT 27/2/2014 No but at least one company has applied) On page 33 of the following document by Just Retirement ("one of the largest providers of enhanced annuities, and one of the leading providers of equity release lifetime mortgagessee reference to ") see the reference to a "System under development to interrogate CPRD, giving Just Retirement access to much wider pool of population medical and death data"
  5. EDIT 27/2/2014 I have been in contact with John Parkinson, Director of CPRD. Just Retirement did  submit protocol into the ISAC system ( that was rejected on the grounds it was outside the remit of CPRD –approved research by approved researchers with a health gain from the output. 
  6. Is it OK for NHS data to be made available to actuaries? (Edit 27/2/14 I am not now aware of any NHS data being made available to actuaries.) Is this something that is unpalatable or sensible?Who benefits and who lose out? Are the GPs and patients participating in CPRD aware of how their data is used?
  7. The HSCIC made the rather curious comment that NHSIC should have used 'greater scrutiny' before giving the HES data to the actuaries. What does that mean? 
  8. Now it is not legal for the HSCIC to directly supply data to any body if it is not for the purposes of improving patient or public health. But this is not so for the CPRD. So what is the difference between the two?
  9. Is it possible to have wider uses of CPRD data because it is voluntarily given by GPs? Or does it just make more economic sense to charge people that can pay CPRD rates whilst reserving the (at cost) data processing of HSCIC for patient/public benefit? These are some of the questions I hope we'll see answered in the coming weeks.