Data Strategy for health and social care

Closes 12 Aug 2022

Opened 16 May 2022


 Why are we developing a Data Strategy?

As set out in the Strategy for Care in the Digital Age, we believe that data should be harnessed to the benefit of the people of Scotland. This includes the delivery of better services, greater innovation, and ensuring the people of Scotland have greater access to, and greater control over, their health and social care information.

The use of data has changed in the last few years and the pandemic has played a role in catapulting health and social care data and statistics into everyday discussions. There is an opportunity to learn from our recent experiences of health and social care data. However, whilst we have some world-class data resources at our disposal, there remains considerable data gaps and we are still lacking information in some areas. These are gaps we must address to improve care in the future.

One of the initial drivers of the Data Strategy will be to align the existing work that is already underway to improve both the use and access to data in health and social care for the benefit of the Scottish people. The Data Strategy will seek to minimise duplication of effort and support collaboration at a national level. It will also ensure an inclusive approach to any solution or ambition for those who do not or cannot access services digitally.

There are a range of data with varying degrees of sensitivity and the public, rightly have an expectation that these are used responsibly and in ways that protect individual privacy. The last few years have seen significant research around understanding public perception of the acceptable use of the data that relates to them, including in research we commissioned ourselves in conjunction with NESTA.

This consultation builds on that extensive public engagement, and we recognise further work is required on helping the people of Scotland grow their understanding and support of the use of data for the wider public good.We hope for a large and diverse set of responses to this consultation so that we can consider the widest range of insight when developing a Data Strategy fit to serve the length and breadth of the nation and all who live here. Your views, gathered from participation in this consultation, are invaluable in helping us to refine the Strategy’s vision and how it is achieved.

Progress of our Strategy to date

Work originally started in 2019 exploring people in Scotland’s opinions and ideas for the use and sharing of health and social care data. This initial engagement and research helped us identify seven ‘relationships’ that Scottish people have with their health and social care data. These are explored in detail in an interactive tool that explores peoples hopes and fears for the future, accessed on the Data Dialogues website.

In November 2021 we began a more detailed programme of engagement on our plans for a Data Strategy that followed on from the previous Data Dialogues.

In the first phase of our engagement, we spoke to stakeholders in the three user groups and asked them what they needed from a Data Strategy for health and social care data. From this first phase of engagement, we heard about eight key themes:

  • Communication & Engagement
  • Data Access
  • Technology & Infrastructure
  • Talent & Culture
  • Ethical Approaches to Data
  • Digital Exclusion
  • Information Governance & Security
  • Data Standards & Interoperability

We are using the information we gathered from the first phase of our engagement to inform this consultation.

Read the consultation paper

Read the Easy Read version consultation paper

View the BSL version of the consultation paper

Why your views matter

The views gathered from participation in this consultation will help refine the Strategy’s vision and how it is achieved.

Give us your views


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