Pro-Palestinian medics blockade entrance to NHS England’s headquarters and demand health service cancels contract with firm they claim supplies tech to Israel’s military

Pro-Palestinian medics have blockaded the entrance to NHS England’s base as they call for a contract to be scrapped with a firm they say supplies technology to Israel’s armed forces.

Protests against software company Palantir Technologies UK have been staged this morning at the health service’s headquarters in Waterloo, central London. 

It comes amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, following the militant group’s October 7 terror attacks last year.

US tech giant Palantir was awarded a £330million contract by NHS England to create a new data management system called the Federated Data Platform.

Campaigners say the company specialises in AI-powered military and surveillance technology and data analytics, and has provided military and surveillance technology to the Israeli government for many years.

Pro-Palestinian campaigners have staged a protest outside NHS England’s HQ in London today

The demonstrators are opposed to the health service's link-up with US tech firm Palantir

The demonstrators are opposed to the health service’s link-up with US tech firm Palantir

Palantir was awarded a £330million contract by NHS England last year to create a new data management system called the Federated Data Platform

Palantir was awarded a £330million contract by NHS England last year to create a new data management system called the Federated Data Platform

Amnesty International has previously accused Palantir of being involved in ‘serious human rights abuses’ and said NHS England should have rejected the link-up.

Palantir is said to have supplied technology to governments allowing them to spy on citizens, while also working with former US president Donald Trump’s administration to enforce anti-immigration rules.

The platform provided to NHS England is aimed at helping individual health service trusts as well as the NHS’s 42 integrated care systems share data to improve care.

Supporters say it brings together real-time data on how many beds hospitals have, as well as the size of waiting lists for planned care and staff rosters.

Palantir’s chairman and co-founder is US billionaire Peter Thiel who also helped set up PayPal.

Data experts, senior politicians and NHS medics have warned the seven-year NHS deal could ‘undermine public trust’ if patient data was mishandled.

Others raised concerns that patients may not be able to opt out of their data being shared through the FDP.

The British Medical Association has described the contract as ‘eye-watering’ and ‘deeply worrying’, adding: ‘Our fears about how patient information may be used and handled going forward have not diminished.’

Mr Thiel, 56, told an Oxford Union debate in January last year that the NHS ‘makes people sick’ and compared the UK’s affection for the health service to ‘Stockholm syndrome’.

He called for the service to be ripped up and started again, with parts of it privatised.

Palantir’s chief executive Alex Karp has, however, said he disagrees with the comments that Mr Thiel made as a ‘private individual’.

Mr Karp has also insisted NHS patients’ data would be safe in his company’s hands and that NHS problems – including record high waiting lists of more than 7million – were ‘not solvable without technology’.

He told the BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg programme last October: ‘We’re the only company of our size and scale that doesn’t buy your data, doesn’t sell your data, doesn’t transfer it to any other company.

‘That data belongs to the Government of the United Kingdom.’

Meanwhile, Israel’s highest ranking officer yesterday apologised for making a ‘grave mistake’ after his forces killed seven aid workers by bombing a food convoy in Gaza.

Former Royal Marines James Henderson and John Chapman and an ex-soldier named last night as James Kirby were among the victims of the ‘outrageous’ drone strike that has triggered worldwide condemnation.

The team, which was providing security for the World Central Kitchen charity, were hit on Monday as they moved food from a warehouse to distribute to Gaza.

Ships carrying 240 tonnes of food aid were yesterday reported to have turned back from Gaza in the wake of the bombing, adding to the humanitarian crisis in the narrow strip of land.

Rishi Sunak last night told Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu he was ‘appalled by the killing of aid workers’.

In a phone conversation the Prime Minister demanded a ‘thorough and transparent independent investigation into what happened’.

Downing Street said Mr Sunak told the Israeli PM that the situation was becoming ‘increasingly intolerable’ and that ‘far too many aid workers and ordinary civilians have lost their lives in Gaza’.

A No 10 spokesman said: ‘The UK expects to see immediate action by Israel to end restrictions on humanitarian aid, deconflict with the UN and aid agencies, protect civilians and repair vital infrastructure like hospitals and water networks.

‘The Prime Minister reiterated that Israel’s rightful aim of defeating Hamas would not be achieved by allowing a humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza.’