US data analytics group Palantir is gearing up to become the underlying operating system for UK’s National Health Service, poaching senior NHS officials in a bid to win a £360mn contract to manage the data of millions of patients across England over the next decade.
The company, known for its ties to the security, defence and intelligence sectors, has been the NHS’s go-to data analytics provider during Covid-19. Its Foundry software was used in the management of ventilators and PPE equipment, delivery of the nationwide vaccination programme and helping to tackle the backlog of 6mn patients waiting for elective care.
The secretive company was co-founded by Peter Thiel, an early investor in Facebook and prominent supporter of former US president Donald Trump.
Palantir’s push to expand its reach into the NHS has prompted privacy activists to voice concerns about its suitability to run national health systems as well as the dangers of relying on a single private company for its critical functions.
Let us know what you think about the group’s planned expansion into the UK’s national health system by voting in our poll. Thanks for reading FirstFT Europe/Africa. Share your feedback with firstname.lastname@example.org — Jennifer
Five more stories in the news
1. UN warns of hunger risk over Ukraine war Hundreds of millions of people are at risk of “hunger and destitution” because of food shortages related to the invasion of Ukraine, UN secretary-general António Guterres warned, as talks stalled over ending Russia’s blockade of Black Sea grain shipments.
2. Twitter to share data with Musk Twitter has agreed to share a trove of data with Elon Musk after the billionaire threatened to abandon his $44bn acquisition of the social media company if it did not provide information about fake accounts and bots. A shareholder vote on the deal is expected by early August.
3. UK set for highest G7 inflation until 2024, say economists A Financial Times analysis of the causes of price increases across leading economies shows that Britain — where inflation hit a 40-year high of 9 per cent in April — exhibits a combination of the worst inflationary factors in other G7 countries, with a huge price rises for energy as well as other goods and services.
4. SEC chief launches review of ‘uneven’ US equities market Gary Gensler has outlined plans for an overhaul of what he described as an unfair US equity market, drawing fire from traders and brokers over significant changes including the possible introduction of an auction process to increase competition between services for retail investors.
5. TikTok executive to ‘step back’ after FT probe A senior executive at China’s ByteDance, owner of the viral video app, has been replaced in his role leading the UK ecommerce tea, after an FT investigation revealed he said that he “didn’t believe” in maternity leave among other allegations of an aggressive corporate culture that triggered a staff exodus.
The day ahead
ECB to end easy money era Christine Lagarde will be able to count on the support of most of her fellow rate-setters when the European Central Bank president sets out plans to end eight years of bond-buying and negative interest rates at a monetary policy meeting today in Amsterdam.
January 6 committee hearings The US House committee investigating the 2021 attack on the Capitol will share what it has learned. Here’s how to watch. But the spirit of Watergate will be missing from audiences for the televised hearings, writes Edward Luce. (WaPo, FT)
What else we’re reading and listening to
Canada’s oil sands Covid-19 triggered an oil crash that forced operators to sack thousands of workers, throttle production and slash capital spending. Now, Alberta’s producers are using a windfall from surging prices to repair their balance sheets and beef up dividends. Can America’s largest oil supplier grant energy security without derailing its climate commitments?
Mélenchon threatens Macron’s hold Two months after securing a second term as France’s president against far-right leader Marine Le Pen, Emmanuel Macron faces an unexpected threat from the other end of the political spectrum: Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who has taken advantage of public disillusionment and forged a leftwing alliance that could derail Macron’s legislative agenda.
Astronauts need smart new suits Is it possible that Nasa’s decision last week to hand development of a next-generation spacesuit to a private-sector agency could herald an equally radical change in living and working in space? It is a big gamble to open up the potential of space, writes Peggy Hollinger.
Who would want to own a hotel now? It is still a grim time to be in hospitality after stringent lockdowns and international travel bans slashed demand. But Sonesta, a little-known yet rapidly expanding hotel company, thinks it has cracked the code to post-pandemic travel.
Blowing the whistle on ESG In this week’s episode of the FT’s Behind the Money podcast, host Michela Tindera talks to a whistleblower who raised red flags on DWS’s misleading claims about its “green” financial products, while Patrick Temple-West joins to explain what it means for the future of environmental, social and governance investing. Sign up here to receive our sustainable finance newsletter, Moral Money.
Food & drink
Are you caught between omnivores, intolerants, veggies and vegans? These flexitarian cookbooks are here to help with dishes including mushroom bolognese, prawn saganaki and yiahni (braised green beans).