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Public ready to prescribe more artificial intelligence to NHS

Public ready to prescribe more AI to NHS

A survey of 2,000 Britons commissioned by KPMG shows the NHS could play a key role in securing the UK’s ambition to remain a world leader in artificial intelligence (AI).


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A survey of 2,000 Britons commissioned by KPMG shows the NHS could play a key role in securing the UK’s ambition to remain a world leader in artificial intelligence (AI).  In the survey, 51% of those polled said they were worried about data privacy, and a majority of people said they wouldn’t share their personal data with the UK’s biggest organisations for AI purposes.  However, there was one exception: 56% said they would be happy to share their personal data with the NHS if it led to improved service. 


This was in stark contrast with those willing to share their personal data with organisations such as pharmaceutical companies (15%), charities (11%), media companies (8%), internet companies (8%) and political organisations (7%).  In terms of willingness to share personal data for AI, the NHS scored ahead of organisations such as banks (47%), the police (33%), and the government (22%).


Speaking ahead of the Health and Care Innovation Expo on Wednesday, James Stewart, Vice Chair at KPMG UK said:


“The NHS is the one area of many people’s lives where their scepticism of artificial intelligence and data security is overcome.  This could make the data held by the NHS a national asset capable of catapulting the UK’s AI development potential forward.  The public are receptive to more artificial intelligence in the NHS and this could lead to breakthroughs in patient care and how AI is regarded by UK business more generally.”


A KPMG UK report entitled “How the UK can win the AI race” newly published with a foreword by Greg Clark MP makes five recommendations:


1)      A national debate on the realities of AI.

2)      Formalising the UK’s data regulation systems for AI.

3)      Establishing a ‘British Standard of Trust’ – a kite-mark for AI and data security.

4)      Establishing ‘Data Innovation Zones’ where developers are given access to anonymised health data.

5)      Addressing the AI skills gap by digital upskilling in schools, a culture of life-long learning and greater recognition for subjects beyond STEM.


Commenting on the AI opportunity, Business Secretary, Greg Clark said:

“AI and big data is changing the world we live in and we are determined to reap the benefits of our unmatched heritage and excellence in the UK, dating back to Alan Turing.  Through our modern Industrial Strategy and our Artificial Intelligence and Data Grand Challenge we want to harness this technology to transform how we diagnose disease, speed up treatment and help people live longer, healthier lives, with the ambition of around 20,000 fewer people dying within 5 years of their cancer diagnosis in 2030 compared to today.

“This new report gives us valuable insight into how people want their data to be used. Through our landmark AI Sector Deal the government is establishing the world’s first Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation to advise on the ethical use of data, including for AI, to make sure we not only lead the world in AI and data, but have people’s trust as we do it.”

In the survey 53% of people said they believe artificial intelligence will have a positive impact on the NHS (10% said negative).  The steps most likely to motivate people to share their personal data with the NHS were to improve the quality of diagnosis and if the NHS took steps to ensure data is kept safe and secure.  54% of people think the potential benefits of giving their personal data to the NHS outweigh the potential risks (9% disagree). 


Urging the UK to act now on artificial intelligence, Sue Daley, techUK’s Head of AI said:

“AI has unprecedented potential to transform every aspect of our economy and society. The UK is already a world leader in AI innovation in key sectors, such as health and finance. But we must keep pace if the UK is to remain at the forefront in the development and application of AI technologies. This means acting now to create the right conditions to drive AI uptake, build the next generation of AI experts and put in place the mechanisms for the UK to be a world leader in the development of, not only innovative, but also responsible and ethical AI. The time for practical action is now.”

In the survey 59% of Brits said there should be more government regulation on new technologies such as artificial intelligence (6% said there should be less).  When asked ‘Which of the following areas do you think will be the greatest problem with artificial intelligence?’ the top answer was: Data privacy and security. 





Notes to editors:


Detailed findings from KPMG’s poll:


·        Education correlates with support for AI – those with no formal qualifications or a non-university level education are more worried about the impact of AI on their jobs than their university educated counterparts.

·        Young people have a better understanding of AI, are more generally supportive of its role in the NHS and positive about its role in society. There is, however, a significant split between Generation Z (18-24) and Millennials (25-34). Older age groups are more pessimistic about the general jobs outlook, but more positive about their own.

·        There is a significant divide on views of AI between London and the rest of the country, especially more rural regions like the South West. Industrial regions like the North East are generally more positive about the impact of AI.

·        Retired people, leisure and retail workers, and the unemployed are more sceptical of AI than those in the public, manufacturing, and professional services sectors. These white collar jobs are more supportive of AI, and least likely to believe their jobs are at threat. Healthcare workers are a significant anomaly, being more sceptical of AI in the NHS and its impact on jobs.



For further information please contact:

Paul Middleton, KPMG Corporate Communications

Tel: (0) 20 7694 2180 / Mobile: 0738 725 7543 / Email:


KPMG Press Office

Tel:  +44 (0) 207 694 8773


About this survey:

Hanbury Strategy is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. 2,000 adult members of the British public were polled online by Hanbury Strategy on behalf of KPMG between 9th and 13th June 2018 using modelled data from smartphone applications to engage a nationally representative sample.  Data is weighted to the profile of all adults aged 18+. Data weighted by gender, age and region. Targets for weighted data derived from Office for National Statistics (2016).  For further details of survey methodology, please visit this link.


About KPMG

KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, operates from 22 offices across the UK with approximately 14,500 partners and staff.  The UK firm recorded a revenue of £2.2 billion in the year ended 30 September 2017. KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax, and Advisory services. It operates in 154 countries and territories and has 200,000 people working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity.  Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such.


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