An evangelist for the state to extract and share private data made the largest claims of any NHS board member, according to information released under the Freedom of Information Act.
"The highest individual bill was for Tim Kelsey, national director for patients and information, who spent £46,000 during the year — including more than £21,000 on hotels and dining, with claims of up to £370 a night," the Telegraph reports.
That's more than the £35,000 claimed by NHS chief executive David Nicholson.
Kelsey also spent almost £7,000 on air fares.
The national director for patients and information is a supporter of care.data, the initiative to extract personal GP health records and share them, at next to no cost, with various "researchers" and "other entities" – which could include pharmaceutical giants, although the government has not been explicit on this point.
But going by his views of several years back, the open data evangelist might view this as a temporary hold-up. Writing in Prospect magazine in 2009, Kelsey explained:
"No one who uses a public service should be allowed to opt out of sharing their records. Nor can people rely on their record being anonymised." (hat tip: David Moss)
Open data evangelism is infectious: now the tax office wants to sell your data.
Kelsey, a former journalist, founded a health data analytics company called Dr Foster in 1999. The NHS invested £12m in a joint venture with Dr Foster, a deal which was subsequently criticised by the National Audit Office. The watchdog pointed out (PDF) that the NHS paid "between 33 and 53 per cent more than the advisor’s highest indicative valuation based solely on the acknowledged strategic premium of between £2.5 and £4m".
Kelsey left Dr Foster in 2010, and after a brief spell at McKinsey became "Executive Director of Transparency and Open Data" - where he advocated releasing as much private data as possible for as little as possible - before taking up his current NHS job in 2012. ®