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Open Letter: Contact Tracking and NHSX

An open letter to the NHSX leadership and Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, calling for caution in the use of data-driven technology during the coronavirus health crisis

In the letter, author Rachel Coldicutt calls on fellow ‘responsible technologists’ to ensure new technologies being used in the suppression of coronavirus follow ethical and best practices.

“The imperative to innovate quickly, and the immense pressure being placed on teams within the NHS and NHSX to deliver at speed must not lead to ethical corners being cut that will undermine trust in the NHS.”

The letter outlines the best practices in order to protect human rights, be proportionate and work within the rule of law, and stresses how these are not just important now but should be used to set the standard for what the delivery of health services in the UK will be after the crisis.

These are testing times, but they do not call for untested new technologies. Ethical data-driven decision-making requires good governance, transparency and willingness to course correct. We ask that the CEO of NHSX and the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care prioritise putting the best practices outlined here at the heart of how new technologies are delivered by NHSX, for the good of everyone in the United Kingdom

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