Former political rivals Sir Tony Blair and Lord Hague have issued a joint call for NHS medical records to be sold to private companies to help fund cutting-edge discoveries.

The report produced by the former prime minister and ex-Conservative leader, who lives at Cyfronydd Hall near Welshpool in Powys, detailed 40 recommendations on ways to help keep the UK at the forefront of artificial intelligence and biotechnology.

On selling NHS medical records, the report states that these would be anonymised and sold to an independent company (free from government interference).

It said that the sell-off would "strictly preserve privacy while bringing massive benefits to research, public health and patient treatment".

Sir Tony Blair and Lord Hague say 'national purpose' of new discoveries will be key to economic growth

This new approach of selling NHS records to commercial entities would be coupled with the "national purpose" of making new discoveries which would be 'key' to economic growth.

Writing in The Times, Sir Tony Blair and Lord Hague praised the "extraordinary age of gene therapies, new antibiotics and molecular factories".

They added: "Nothing will be more important to British jobs, living standards and security in the coming years than leading the world in science and innovation.

"We will have to keep moving quickly if we are to be one of the main homes of changes so dramatic that they will alter forever the way we live and restructure much of the global economy."

The pair also believe that the data gathered from the NHS records could provide an important platform for AI to monitor patients via wearable technology, allowing it to alert doctors to problems.

The report also proposes having patients set up "personal health accounts" via the NHS app to allow them to book appointments and manage treatments.

Speaking of their past rivalries, they said: "Whatever our political differences on more traditional issues, we both believe that this is the crucial task that, more than anything else, will determine the future prosperity of Britain."