Secondary Uses Service
The Secondary Uses Service (SUS) is a database of more than one billion confidential patient records used to improve NHS treatment and healthcare.
Find out more about the 10 key NHS IT projects
♦  NHS Care Records Service
♦  Choose and Book
♦  The Electronic Prescription Service
♦  N3 national broadband network
♦  Picture Archiving and Communications System (Pacs)
♦  The Spine
♦  The Quality Management and Analysis System
♦  GP2GP record transfer
♦  NHSmail- a central email and directory service for the NHS
♦  Secondary Uses Service
Records are held on nearly all patients in England who have stayed in hospital, visited outpatients or attended A&E.
Data includes personal details such as date of birth, postcode and NHS number, together with coded medical information.
As well as being analysed internally, encrypted data from the SUS is passed to the Dr Foseter Unit, an academic body which uses the data to analyse outcomes such as death rates in hospitals in order to improve NHS care.
The unit's main funder is Dr Foster Intelligence – a joint venture between the NHS Information Centre for Health and Social Care and a private company, Dr Foster. The unit does not pass any identifiable information to Dr Foster Intelligence.
What progress so far
The Department of Health recently began consulting with the public on how it shares this data and the wider use of patient information in health research and managing and planning care.
Questions have been raised by the Patient Information Advisory Group, a government advisory group, over whether the law supports the retention and processing of identifiable patient data to produce anonymous data extracts for analysis.
The DoH has just created the National Information Governance Board whose remit will be to "ensure that patient data is stored and used securely" and that will oversee all issues relating to the handling of health service and social care information in England.