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East of England Secure Data Environment

We are working alongside a range of partners in the East of England on an NHS project to develop a Secure Data Environment (SDE) to support health and care research using NHS patient data.

Currently, NHS data is sent to approved researchers. A Secure Data Environment includes digital spaces to hold NHS data and allow approved researchers to safely access and analyse it for research, while keeping the data protected and under the control of the NHS. The East of England SDE is funded through an NHS England programme (opens in a new tab), and is part of a network of regional secure data environments across England.

Many organisations across our region hold data, including hospitals, GP surgeries and Integrated Care Systems, that could contribute to health research and data-led improvements in health and care. The initial funding (to March 2024) is focussed on example projects, such as cardiovascular disease (CVD), to demonstrate that data from multiple organisations can securely, transparently and efficiently be brought together to support research that helps address NHS priorities across the region. Following these example projects, the SDE will be scaled up to support wider research.

The data in the East of England SDE ultimately comes from NHS patients across the region, and they will be an essential part of its design, decisions about who will be allowed to access data and for what purpose. This project builds on public involvement in earlier projects (opens in a new tab) (such as My Care Record (opens in a new tab), Gut Reaction (opens in a new tab), and CYNAPSE (opens in a new tab)) and brings together many organisations that are working to support trustworthy use of data in health research.

You will be able to opt-out if you do not wish your de-identified data to be used to support local research through the East of England SDE.

Which organisations are involved in the East of England Secure Data Environment?

The East of England SDE project brings together organisations across the region that use or hold NHS patient data, provide technical expertise in data science and innovation and who work with patients and members of the public. The organisations partnering to deliver this project include...

  • Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • Cambridge University Health Partners (CUHP)
  • Health Innovation East (formerly Eastern Academic Health Science Network)
  • Healthwatch
  • Norfolk and Waveney Integrated Care System (ICS)
  • Cambridgeshire and Peterborough ICS
  • Suffolk and North-East Essex ICS
  • Bedfordshire, Luton, and Milton Keynes ICS
  • Hertfordshire and West Essex ICS
  • Mid and South Essex ICS
  • The University of East Anglia
  • Anglia Ruskin University
  • University of Cambridge

How can people find more information or get involved?

You can read more about what the East of England Secure Data Environment programme will do, and how you can get involved. (opens in a new tab)

There will be a webinar and in-person events to hear more from local communities about the programme in Spring 2024. If you want to hear about these, you can sign up to the mailing list, or join a wait list to hear about opportunities to get involved, by following the link above.