The Department of health (DH) is planning on linking routine data to help researchers. GP and hospital data are first on the list of datasets to be linked in 2012. From the DH website:
“The release of important health data will stimulate medical research and enable patients to take informed decisions about their care, the Department of Health has said today.
For the first time services provided by the NHS Information Centre for Health and Social Care will link datasets from GP and hospital care, providing health service, pharmaceutical industry, academics and other professionals with unequalled levels of information about the journeys of patients through the care system and the outcomes of different treatments”.
The press release is not very informative. The policy document is available but not much better. A much better source is a blog post that you can get to here.