NHS Federated Data Platform (FDP)

Digitising and connecting data to transform health and care

Better use of data brings big benefits for patients, ensuring more joined up care, greater choice and improved health outcomes.

The NHS is made up of multiple organisations that rely on data to deliver care every day, and to transform services and improve outcomes for patients. Using that data well saves lives.

Historically, it’s been held in different systems that don’t speak to each other creating burden for staff, delays to patient care and making it difficult to scale and share local innovation. The NHS Federated Data Platform (FDP) is a solution to that problem.

In the first instance, the FDP will make it easier for staff at NHS trusts and integrated care boards (on behalf of integrated care systems (ICS) to access the information they need, freeing up valuable time to reinvest in delivering the best care possible for patients. In the future, it will also enable Trusts and ICSs to make better use of the information they hold, supporting them to work together to understand patterns, solve problems, and plan services for their local populations.

NHS Federated Data Platform: What is it?

The NHS Federated Data Platform (FDP) is software that will enable NHS organisations to bring together operational data – currently stored in separate systems – to support staff to access the information they need in one safe and secure environment. This could be the number of beds in a hospital, the size of waiting lists for elective care services, or the availability of medical supplies.

The NHS FDP is a series of separate data platforms, that we call ‘instances’. Every hospital trust and ICB (on behalf of the ICS) will have their own instance of the NHS FDP, these are called local instances. NHS England is responsible for the national instances of the NHS FDP.

Each NHS organisation with an instance of the NHS FDP will have the ability to connect and share information between them when it’s helpful and in relation to any personal information, where data protection law allows it. For example, to discharge a patient from hospital into a care setting.

FDP will help provide NHS staff (frontline clinicians, operational staff, and planners, including NHS England) with timely information and insight, promoting the efficient use of resources to support the delivery and planning of patient care.

For trusts, the NHS FDP securely bring together operational data, currently stored in separate systems, for example from hospital health records, waiting lists, and theatre and staff rosters, to better manage patient care.

At ICB level (on behalf of the ICSs), the NHS FDP will help bring together data to support population health management, tackling health inequalities and care coordination, enabling ICSs to better understand their populations, supporting a targeted, more effective use of resources and planning services around the needs of their population.

The National (NHS England) instance of FDP will improve the flow and analysis of reporting data, reducing burden by changing from multiple independent older systems that don’t connect, replacing it with modern and enhanced security and transparency. This will give NHS England teams more accurate and near-real-time data to undertake strategic and operational planning.

A digitised, connected NHS can deliver services more effectively and efficiently.


A diagram showing a federated network of data platforms.

The image above shows a federated network of data platforms. It includes three circles that represent integrated care systems. There are arrows linking each of the circles, representing the flow of information between each integrated care system. Each circle has multiple organisations within it, and there are lines between each organisation illustrating the flow of data between them.

Supporting NHS priorities and local innovation

The NHS FDP will provide trusts and ICBs (on behalf of ICSs) with a set of core capabilities and nationally developed products to support five key NHS priorities along with NHS England’s objective to improve services:

  1. Elective recovery – to get patients treated as quickly as possible, reducing the backlog of people waiting for appointments or treatments, including maximising capacity, supporting patient readiness and using innovation to streamline care
  2. Care coordination (joining up care) – to ensure that health and care organisations all have access to the information they need to support the patient, enabling care to be coordinated across NHS services
  3. Vaccination and immunisation – to ensure that there is fair and equal access, and uptake of vaccinations across different communities
  4. Population health management (planning NHS services) – to help local trusts, ICBs (on behalf of the ICS) and NHS England proactively plan services that meet the needs of their population
  5. Supply chain management (getting the best value for the NHS) – to help the NHS put resources where they are needed most and buy smarter so that we get the best value for money

A suite of nationally commissioned products will sit under each of the use cases. A product is a software solution to address a particular NHS need, for example a patient discharge product which brings together data to help support discharge teams in hospitals get patients the right care in the right place.

Every trust or ICB (on behalf of the ICS) with an instance of the FDP can make use of these. There are currently three products that have been designed based on feedback from colleagues across the NHS and which have been refined based on the feedback of the pilot sites before being rolled out more widely. As new nationally commissioned products are developed, they will continue to be tested with pilot sites ahead of national roll-out.

As well as access to nationally commissioned products the NHS FDP also supports local innovation, allowing organisations (once approval is given) to develop their own digital tools that address their most pressing operational challenges and enhance their ability to make informed and effective decisions. The image below shows how a trust or ICS instance of FDP can access nationally commissioned products as well as support local innovation of products and modules.

Flow chart showing how a trust or integrated care system instance of the federated data platform (FDP) can access nationally commissioned products as well as support local innovation of products and modules

Protecting patient data

Privacy by design has been front and centre of the design of the NHS FDP, reflecting NHS England’s commitment to handle health and care data lawfully, proportionately, ethically and in confidence.

We are protecting patient data in the following ways:

  • strict access controls
  • NHS privacy enhancing technology
  • lawful use of data
  • respecting patient choice

Read more about how we’re protecting privacy and confidentiality.

NHS Federated Data Platform implementation phases

The NHS Federated Data Platform is being implemented in phases, as follows:

March – July 2024: transition phase

  • transition of existing National Data Platform products to the national instance of the NHS FDP
  • transition of 44 pilot sites to local instances of the NHS FDP
  • transition of 2 pilot ICS to local instances of the NHS FDP

May 2024 – March 2027: delivery phase

Following the successful transition phase, rollout of instances of the NHS FDP to new trusts and ICBs (on behalf of ICSs) will begin. Activities include:

  • roll out of existing local products to all local instances of the FDP
  • roll out of local instances of the FDP with the target of an additional 29 organisations by December 2024, continuing over the next 2 years for any organisation (e.g. hospital trusts, ICBS, mental health trusts or ambulance trusts) that wishes to adopt

Once trusts and ICBs (on behalf of ICSs) have their local instance of the NHS FDP, they can choose to use any of the nationally commissioned local products and develop products locally to address local issues. Any new nationally commissioned local products will be made available to any trusts and ICSs with an instance of the NHS FDP.

More detailed information about the implementation of the FDP can be found here: NHS England » NHS Federated Data Platform privacy notice

Further information