Understanding Patient Data supports better conversations about the uses of health information. Our aim is to explain how and why data can be used for care and research, what’s allowed and what’s not, and how personal information is kept safe. We work with patients, charities and healthcare professionals to champion responsible uses of data.

You can find out about our work, governance, funding and supporters on this page, or contact us for more information. Understanding Patient Data was set up in 2016 and is led by a small core team, based at the Wellcome offices in London, UK. 

Aims and objectives

We aim to support discussions with the public, patients and healthcare professionals about uses of health and care data by:

  1. providing objective evidence about:
    • how and why data can be used for care and research
    • the benefits and risks
    • what is allowed and not allowed
    • how personal information is safeguarded
  2. helping people make informed decisions when they have options about how data might be used
  3. developing advocates who can champion the responsible use of data
  4. bringing together, and partnering with, other engagement initiatives to strengthen the voice of individual activities
  5. working with the media to present an even-handed portrayal of stories relating to health data
  6. providing analysis about public attitudes to help inform NHS England, Department of Health and NHS Digital policy and communications
  7. examining emerging issues from new data-driven technologies and the implications for public confidence.

Meet the team

  • Natalie Banner Natalie Banner Lead Twitter
  • Tom, senior policy officer Tom Harrison Senior Policy Officer
  • Photo of Grace Annan-Callcott Grace Annan-Callcott Communications Officer Twitter
  • Donna, Team Coordinator Donna James Team Coordinator (part-time) Twitter

Work with us


Any vacancies will be added here. 



A Steering Committee helps provide strategic direction and oversight for our work. Members of the Steering Committee are:

  • Lorraine Jackson
    Lorraine Jackson Department of Health and Social Care
  • Rachel Knowles
    Rachel Knowles MRC
  • Sara Marshall
    Sara Marshall Wellcome Trust
  • Sir Nick
    Sir Nick Partridge Deputy Chair, UK Clinical Research Collaboration
  • Sophie Newbound
    Sophie Newbound Public Health England
  • Karin Woodley
    Karin Woodley Cambridge House

We are also supported by an advisory group representing a wide range of stakeholders to provide a broader perspective to our work across different audiences.

  • Dr Amitava Banerjee Health Informatics Unit Lead for Clinical Informatics Education, Royal College of Physicians
  • Aisling Burnand MBE Chief Executive, Association of Medical Research Charities
  • John Carvel National Data Guardian Panel
  • Chris Carrigan University of Leeds
  • Simon Denegri NIHR National Director for Patients and the Public; Chair, INVOLVE 
  • Professor Carol Dezateux CBE FMedSci UCL Institute of Child Health
  • Mark Golledge Programme Manager – Health and Care Informatics, Local Government Association
  • Alice Kay Acting Senior Press Officer, Science Media Centre
  • Professor Peter Knight Executive Director, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; Senior Fellow, Nuffield School of Medicine and Population Health, Oxford University
  • Rachel Merrett Deputy Head of Data Policy, NHS England
  • Professor Andrew Morris FRCP FRSE FMedSci Director, Health Data Research UK
  • Katrina Nevin-Ridley Director of Communications, Genomics England
  • Hilary Newiss Chair, National Voices
  • Viv Parry Writer and Broadcaster
  • Dr Mark Taylor Senior Lecturer, School of Law, University of Sheffield


The following organisations provide funding support for Understanding Patient Data:

  • Wellcome
  • Medical Research Council
  • Department of Health and Social Care
  • Economic and social research council
  • Public Health England

Our views and outputs are independent of Government and the other funders.
Understanding Patient Data has the backing of the UK Clinical Research Collaboration Board.


These organisations support the work of Understanding Patient Data, sharing information and engaging with their membership to help develop the team’s ideas and resources.

  • Alzheimer's Research UK
  • Anthony Nolan
  • Association of Medical Research Charities
  • Asthma UK
  • British Heart Foundation
  • Cancer Research UK
  • Cancer 52
  • Connected Health Cities
  • CPRD
  • Diabetes UK
  • Genetic Alliance UK
  • Genomics England
  • Health Data Research UK
  • HQIP
  • HRA
  • Information Governance Alliance
  • involve
  • Kidney Care UK
  • Kidney Research UK
  • The King's Fund
  • Macmillan
  • Transforming mental health through research
  • National Data Guardian
  • National Voices
  • National Institute for Health Research
  • Parkinson's UK
  • Academy of Medical Sciences
  • Professional Records Standards Body
  • The Brain Tumour Charity
  • The Richmond Group of Charities
  • UK Clinical Research Council
  • use MY data