A second NHS official is set to join for Palantir after it was reported that the US software company has emerged as a “front-runner” for a £360million contract. 

Harjeet Dhaliwal, deputy director of data services at NHS England and NHS Improvement will follow Indra Joshi, former NHSX director of AI.

A spokesperson for Palantir confirmed to Digital Health News that Dhaliwal was joining the company, but said she would not be “working on any NHS related projects”.

“We are delighted that Harjeet is joining Palantir’s UK team, which we are aiming to grow by 250 this year,” they said.

News of the latest appointment by Palantir follows reports that the company is in the running for NHS England’s procurement of a Federated Data Platform. The procurement, which is due to begin in July, is expected to be awarded in November.

The initial market engagement notice for the project outlined a three-year, £240 million procurement to build the NHS Federated Data Platform, described as “an ecosystem of technologies and services implemented across the NHS in England”.

The duration of the contract has since been extended to five years, bumping the price up to £360m, according to a news report by the Financial Times and confirmed to Digital Health News by NHS England.

According to the notice, the platform will be built on five use cases. They include: population health and person insight; care coordination (Integrated Care System); elective recovery; vaccines and immunization; and supply chain.

The procurement will be split between two main lots: the FDP itself – with Integrated Care System (ICS) integration and consultancy and communications support for ICS implementation and adoption​ – and privacy-enhancing technology.

According to NHS England over 80 suppliers responded to the initial procurement briefing.

The FT report said the briefing materials heaped praise on Palantir’s Foundry platform with “several figures at the NHS” saying “Palantir is viewed as the frontrunner”.

“The current platform is delivering huge benefits and was critical to the success of the vaccination and PPE programmes,” the briefing reportedly said.

The contract for the proposed nationally procured and managed analytics platform is intended to connect and integrate patient and other data sources, and envisaged as underpinning the operation of Integrated Care Systsems.

Palantir is already working with the NHS as it was awarded a £23m three-year contract by NHS England to provide the Covid-19 Data Store, and the platform was one of the tools used to help manage the distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine.

Palantir’s Foundry software has so far been used in the management of ventilators and PPE equipment, delivery of the nationwide vaccination programme and helping plan how to tackle the backlog of 6 million patients waiting for elective care.

In a statement to Digital Health News NHS England said: “The NHS COVID-19 Data Store and Platform pulled in live information from across the country which helped us to anticipate the virus, protect the most vulnerable, put resources where they were needed and ultimately deliver the largest vaccination programme in NHS history.

“Since then we have given NHS teams new predictive technology to help them maximise their available capacity; new software to cleanse and reduce their waiting lists; new tools to help them coordinate care and open up more slots in theatres for routine operations. We have freed up more clinical time to care.”