Clinical Practice Research Datalink - History - Launch of The CPRD

Launch of The CPRD

In March 2011, The Government launched its ‘Plan for Growth’ which details steps needed to enable the British economy to become more internationally competitive. As part of this initiative The Government pledged to build a consensus on using e-health record data to create a unique position for the UK in health research.

—Department of Health

Following the announcement by the chancellor on the "Plan for Growth", a commissioned study entitled the "Research Capability Programme" was initiated with the aim of assessing the available research capabilities of the UK and future potential growth areas in this sector. An opportunity was identified for the collaboration of the Department of Health and the MHRA in creating a joint research service, based upon consolidating and expanding existing independent services. The new service, known as the CPRD has been developed to meet the expectations and criteria outlined by the "Plan for Growth".

On 29 March 2012, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and the Department of Health's National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) launched the Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD). On the launch of CPRD, Sir Kent Woods, Chief Executive of the MHRA said, "The Clinical Practice Research Datalink will provide new data and research services that will improve the health of patients and also make the UK a world leader in life sciences research." David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science, said, "The UK is a world leader in life sciences, but both the research base and industry tell us that we could make better use of data in order to drive medical breakthroughs. The Clinical Practice Research Datalink will provide researchers with access to safeguarded data that respects patient confidentiality. This will give valuable insights into serious health conditions and ultimately help reduce the time it takes to develop new treatments." The GPRD became part of the data services provision from CPRD.

At its launch in April 2012, CPRD was established as the new, England-wide NHS observational and interventional research service. It has built on the research developments of the GPRD, and also the Health Research Support Service (HRSS) previously managed by the NIHR Research Capability Program.

  • The GPRD was a large primary care database, containing anonymised primary care data and links to a number of NHS and other data sources. The GPRD specialised in providing anonymised data and research service capabilities to a variety of medical and public health studies.
  • The HRSS was a pilot service to demonstrate the feasibility of research using a range of health-care information. The HRSS used its analyses and expertise linking large sets of anonymised data for research studies.

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