The government is recruiting an independent chair for a new Data Strategy Board to advise ministers on what information should be released as part of its ‘Open Data’ agenda.

Better use of NHS data is a key part of the agenda. The government has already said this will include giving patients access to their online health records and creating a service linking data from primary and acute care so healthcare impacts can be tracked across the entire health service.

The new board will work with the Public Data Group – which consists of the Met Office, Ordnance Survey, Land Registry and Companies House – to “provide a more consistent approach to improving access to public sector information,” a government statement says. Recruitment is also underway for a chair for this group.

The government has announced that it is making £7m available from April next year for the board to purchase additional data from members of the PDG and, potentially, other public sector organisations.

A new Open Data User Group will also be formed to act as an advisory body to the DSB on how to prioritise spending on data from the public sector.The chair of the user group will be paid £20,000 for the part time job.

The Open Data measures published on the Cabinet Office website say that from September 2012, healthcare datasets from GP practices will be linked with hospital data.

The secure data linkage service – set up by the Health and Social Care Information Centre – will allow users to track the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of things like drugs and procedures.

The document repeats earlier announcements that the government will publish practice-level prescribing data by September 2012 and additional health and social care datasets by September 2013.

Chancellor George Osborne also pledged in November’s Autumn Statement that everybody in England will have online access to their GP records by October 2015 as part of the government’s Open Data measures designed to stimulate economic growth.