Michaela Omelkova, Data Ethics advisor in the Scottish Government, outlines current work on public engagement on data and its use
Consultation for data strategy launched
Scotland’s first ever Data Strategy for Health and Social Care which is also a programme for government commitment, will set out how we collectively use data to improve the health and wellbeing of the people of Scotland. To kick start the strategy development process we formed the Data Strategy Working Group back in August 2021. It has representation from Scottish Government, COSLA, Public Health Scotland, Nesta and Local Government Digital Office.
It has been a busy time for the working group. We have carried out a broad engagement programme to find out from our stakeholders what they feel are critical issues when it comes to accessing, sharing, and controlling health and care data. Our engagement started in earnest in December 2021. Since then, we have carried out more than 55 workshops and heard the views and suggestions of over 600 people from across health, social care, housing, the third sector, business, innovation, research, academia as well as from the public. People were both thoughtful and enthusiastic in their responses and we are grateful to everyone who took the time to engage with us.
We were keen to reach as many people as possible and particularly wanted to hear the views of those whose voices are less frequently heard. We therefore commissioned Nesta to directly engage with groups in Scotland that are underrepresented in traditional engagement or consultation methods which culminated in the Data Dialogues 2 Report. We synthesised those findings with what we heard in our engagements, resulting in the identification of eight main themes:
- communication and engagement
- data access
- technology and infrastructure
- talent and culture
- ethical approaches to data
- digital exclusion
- information governance and security
- data Standards and interoperability
Based on the themes identified above, we developed a consultation document and our formal consultation was launched on the 16 May and will be live for three months, closing on the 12 August 2022. The consultation is also available in an Easy Read format, with a British Sign Language format to be published shortly.
Given access to, sharing of, and control over health and care data impacts us all, we are keen to hear views from all people and organisations.
Our consultation is designed around three broad users and beneficiaries of data in health and social care:
- the people of Scotland
- those delivering health and social care services
- those supporting the delivery of those services through innovation and research
We are aware that people may fit into more than one user or beneficiary category and therefore the consultation provides the opportunity for you to comment across any or all those categories. We are urging you not only to submit your views but to also share the news of the launch of the formal consultation with your colleagues and networks.
We look forward to receiving your responses, undertaking the analysis of them, and developing the Strategy thereafter.
Keeping you informed
We are committed to being open and transparent about the way we are developing the Data Strategy and how we make decisions on the use of data to improve health and care outcomes more broadly. We are therefore publishing the minutes of the Data Strategy Working Group meetings as well as the minutes of the Health and Social Care Data Board which met for the first time in March 2022.
If you want to find out more about the Data Strategy for Health and Social Care or to request a paper copy of the Easy Read consultation document, you can email HSCDatastrategy@gov.scot
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