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Tech firms support NHS' fight against coronavirus pandemic

Technology firms are supporting the NHS' effort to fight the coronavirus pandemic in Britain.

Three US tech firms - Amazon, Microsoft and Palantir - and the London-based Faculty AI are all being used to help forecast where ventilators, hospital beds, and medical staff will be needed during the ongoing health crisis.

A source in one of the tech companies told the BBC: "Every hospital is going to be thinking: Have we got enough ventilators? Well we need to keep ours because who knows what's going to happen - and that might not be the optimal allocation of ventilators.

"Without a holistic understanding of how many we've got, where they are, who can use them, who is trained, where do we actually have patients who need them most urgently, we risk not making the optimal decisions."

Health Secretary Matt Hancock is soon expected to sign the plan off - but it's also likely to lead to concerns about privacy.

Meanwhile, the NHS plans to ensure that all the data involved has been anonymised, meaning that personal details cannot be traced back to a specific person.

The UK is currently in lockdown amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has placed a huge strain on the country's healthcare system in recent weeks.

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