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Pro-Palestine health workers blockade NHSE over Palantir contract

Pro-Palestine health workers blockade NHSE over Palantir contract

Healthcare workers blockaded the entrance to NHS England’s headquarters yesterday demanding an end to ties with US tech giant Palantir. 

Last year, the company was awarded a seven-year contract worth £330m to deliver NHSE’s new ‘federated data platform’ (FDP). 

A group called Health Workers for a Free Palestine (HW4FP) protested outside the London offices yesterday, claiming that Palantir is a ‘genocide enabler’. 

According to the group, the company supports the Israeli government ‘through a number of projects’ including their ‘predictive policing services’ which have been used to ‘target’ Palestinians. 

The protestors, whose placards said ‘no Palantir in the NHS’, also called for all public service data management to be brought ‘in house’ and for NHS England to avoid all contacts with companies ‘complicit in Israeli genocide’. 

In a post on Instagram yesterday, HW4FP said: ‘NHS England must cancel it’s contract with genocide enabler Palantir. Our health services must be run in the interests of the people, not corporate giants and colonial regimes.’

The group describes itself as a ‘collective of UK healthcare workers organising for Palestinian liberation’. 

Earlier this year, Palantir agreed a ‘strategic partnership’ with the Israel Defence Ministry to supply technology supporting the war in Gaza. 

Palantir was founded in the US in 2003 and is well known for clients such as the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the United States Department of Defense.

NHS England’s contract with Palantir has been criticised by the BMA, which said it had ‘no faith’ in the FDP and argued that the profession and patients had not been adequately consulted.

And in February, law campaigners launched legal proceedings against NHSE in a bid to ‘uncover’ the contents of its controversial contract with the tech company.

The FDP aims to bring together operational and patient data from different NHS organisations to boost collaboration. 

The NHS England website currently says GP data will not be included in the platform at a national level, and only in a local version where there is a data sharing agreement between the integrated care system (ICS) and GPs.

However, earlier this year, the health secretary indicated that GP data could be included in future.

NHS England and Palantir have been approached for comment.