Liberating the NHS: An Information Revolution

Closed 15 Jan 2011

Opened 18 Oct 2010


1. Our vision is of an information revolution in which people have the information they need to stay healthy, to take decisions about and exercise more control of their care, and to make the right choices for themselves and their families.  This includes an accurate record of their care, available to them electronically.  Health and adult social care information will be liberated from a closed, bureaucratic system in order to serve patients and the public, and to help drive better care, improving outcomes, innovation and the better use of resources.

2. Transforming the way information is collected, analysed and used by the NHS and adult social care services will be critical to achieving this information revolution. This Government is committed to moving:

  • away from information belonging to the system, to information enabling patients and service users to be in clear control of their care;
  • away from patients and service users merely receiving care, to patients and service users being active participants in their care;
  • away from information based on administrative and technical needs, to information which is based on the patient or service user consultation and on good clinical and professional practice;
  • away from top-down information collection, to a focus on meeting the needs of individuals and local communities;
  • away from a culture in which information has been held close and recorded in forms that are difficult to compare, to one characterised by openness, transparency and comparability;
  • away from the Government being the main provider of information about the quality of services to a range of organisations being able to offer service information to a variety of audiences; and
  • in relation to digital technologies, away from an approach where we expect every organisation to use the same system, to one where we connect and join up systems.


3. Without fundamental changes to the data being collected and analysed, and the information made available, NHS and adult social care services will be held back in making the progress we all want to see.  Our recent White Paper Equity and excellence: Liberating the NHS   set out a number of critical priorities for the years ahead, all of which rely on the information revolution in different ways. This consultation document considers and seeks views on the information implications of each of those priority areas in turn.

Why We Are Consulting

Criteria for consultation

This document is for consultation. We want to hear from as broad a range of people and organisations as possible. The Information Revolution consultation document will be available to read and download at:

You can respond to the consultation by completing the response form and either emailing it to or posting it to:
Information Strategy Team, Department of Health,
7th Floor, New Kings Beam House, London SE1 9BW

Comments should be received by 14 January 2011.

You can also respond to the consultation online, share your views and add comments on the consultation, in a number of ways.  From the website above, you will be able access the online consultation space, and:

  • read and respond to the consultation online
  • read the Secretary of State's personal introduction to the consultation document and leave comments
  • see video and images of events and visits
  • find links to related information on stakeholder websites
  • read features and updates on the consultation

In addition, you can receive updates on the consultation and ask us questions through Twitter by following @dhgovuk

The website will also include a summary of the consultation document for download - including the consultation questions - available in Easy Read, in three common languages (Urdu, Punjabi and Polish), in large print, and in a word version that can be loaded for audio playback.

The information revolution is for everyone.  We will be working with a range of partners and organisations across sectors to ensure this consultation reaches as wide an audience as possible.  You can help by hosting discussions for your own colleagues and networks on webpages, social media or through any meetings and events.  Information about events and other opportunities to get involved will be available on the website above, together with material to support anyone who wants to host their own discussions. After these discussions, please feedback by using the response form or submitting an online response as mentioned above.   

Following the consultation process, we will publish an information strategy and further plans to put this information revolution into effect.

We are fully committed to developing and publishing an impact assessment and an equalities impact assessment to accompany the Government’s response to this consultation.


We will manage the information you provide in accordance with the Department of Health’s Information Charter. 

Information we receive, including personal information, may also be published or disclosed in accordance with the access to information regimes (primarily the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA), the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004).

If you want the information you provide to be treated as confidential, please be aware that, under the FOIA, there is a statutory code of practice with which public authorities must comply and which deals, among other things, with obligations of confidence. In view of this, it would be helpful if you could explain to us why you regard the information you have provided as confidential.  If we receive a request for disclosure of the information, we will take full account of your explanation, but we cannot give an assurance that confidentiality can be maintained in all circumstances.  An automatic confidentiality disclaimer generated by your IT system will not, of itself, be regarded as binding on the Department of Health.

The Department of Health will process your personal data in accordance with with DPA and in most circumstances this will mean that your personal data will not be disclosed to third parties.  
Compliance with Code of Practice on Consultation

This consultation follows the Government’s Code of Practice on Consultation.  In particular, we aim to:

  • Formally consult at a stage where there is scope to influence the policy outcome
  • Consult for at least 12 weeks, with consideration given to longer timescales where feasible and sensible
  • Be clear about the consultation process in the consultation documents, what is being proposed, the scope to influence, and the expected costs and benefits of the proposals
  • Ensure that the consultation exercise is designed to be accessible to, and clearly targeted at, those people it is intended to reach
  • Keep the burden of consultation to a minimum to ensure consultations are effective and to obtain consultees’ “buy in” to the process
  • Analyse the responses carefully and give clear feedback to participants following the consultation
  • Ensure officials running consultations are guided in how to run an effective consultation exercise and share what they learn from the experience.

The full text of the code of practices is on the Better Regulation website.    

How to comment on the consultation process

If you would like to make any comments about the consultation process we have followed, please contact the Consultations Co-ordinator, Department of Health, 3E58 Quarry House, LEEDS, LS2 7UE. Email:  Please do not send answers to the consultation questions to this address or mailbox.

What Happens Next

Following the consultation process, we will publish an information strategy and further plans to put this information revolution into effect.

We are fully committed to developing and publishing an impact assessment and an equalities impact assessment to accompany the Government’s response to this consultation.

A summary of the response to this consultation will be made available before or alongside any further action, such as laying legislation before Parliament, and will be placed on the Department of Health consultations website at:


  • Voluntary groups
  • Community groups
  • Charities
  • Advocacy or support organisations
  • GPs
  • Nurses
  • Health visitors
  • Clinicians
  • Managers
  • Commissioners
  • Regulatory body
  • Academic/ Professional institution
  • Employer representatives
  • Employee representatives
  • Trade union
  • Local authority
  • Social care provider
  • Members of the public
  • Patients
  • Carers
  • Service users
  • Suppliers
  • Information providers
  • Information professionals
  • Informatics professionals


  • IT
  • Informatics