Headlines: March 24th, 1999

The Sema Group has been awarded a 12 million pound contract under the Private Finance Initiative to develop and run the NHS Strategic Tracing Service. The system will contain details of 52 million patients in England and Wales who have been given a unique number since 1996. In addition to patient identification details the database will include information about their GPs, trusts and health authorities and the relationships between them within the NHS. No clinical details will be held by the system.

The Tracing Service forms a key part of the new NHS information strategy ‘Information for Health’. It will be widely used as the single and secure source of non-clinical patient information which authorised users in the NHS will be able to access. It will be used as an administrative database and also as a platform for health studies. The core system will be available from autumn 1999.