We are getting an increased number of queries currently about opting out of data sharing of your medical records
There have been posts on social media with false information about opting out of sharing your data with the NHS.
Here's what you need to know:
- There is no 30 September deadline for opting out of sharing your data. You can opt out at any time.
- NHS Digital will never sell your data.
- There are strict rules about how the NHS can use your data. It's only shared securely and safely.
- Shared data helps the NHS. It has been used to find the first treatment for coronavirus and for vaccine research.
For full information on this matter or information on how to opt out please refer to
NHS Digital Proposals: GP Data for Planning and Research.
The Government has recently enacted a law requiring GPs to send copies of their patient’s records to NHS Digital, where they may be used for research and planning. This will include records going back 10 years and virtually anything new we record about you into the future.
You may be aware through the media about this scheme. This has caused controversy, in particular with regards to the times scale to publicise this change and the lack of national information regarding this.
At a time when GP Practices are extremely busy (currently your practice continues to see about a third higher activity than pre pandemic) the lack of national information has led to a large number of people contacting the surgery in the last week understandably concerned.
As GPs we too have concerns around the implementation of the scheme and would share the points of view expressed in this letter jointly from the British Medical Association and Royal College of GPs to NHS Digital
This is a complex area and the web page below from NHS Digital does explain things quite well.
The original deadline regarding the need to fill in the attached form and return to us by the 23rd June may now be extended as the start date for these proposals has been moved back from 1 July to 1 September but you should consider your wishes as soon as possible.
Opt out form
We are well aware of the very tight timescales here but we would like to stress again that this is a decision made by NHS Digital and not by your practice. This issue is nothing to do with providing direct care when you need it.
If you do not want your data to be used in this way there are two ways to stop it happening.
Stop data leaving the practice, aka “Type 1 objection”.
To stop your GP records being sent from us to NHS Digital in the first place you can ask us to place a “type 1 objection” in your records. We will do this for you. Please let us know by phone, e-mail or letter. At the moment this must be done before the 23rd June (but see above extension). You can also use this form HERE. We will of course always share any records necessary for your care, such as a referral to a local hospital.
Stop NHS Digital using your data for planning or research, the “NHS Data Opt Out”.
NHS Digital also collects by default data from other sources, hospitals or clinics etc. This data can be used for planning and research including commercial research outside the NHS. You can learn more about how NHS Digital uses your data here: General Practice Data for Planning and Research: GP Practice Privacy Notice - NHS Digital.
You have the choice to stop this happening if you wish but it has to be actioned directly with NHS Digital, we cannot do this for you. To stop data NHS Digital collects on you being used for anything other than direct care go to the NHS Digital web site and search for national opt out. Then scroll to the bottom of the page to read how to action.
WAYS TO OPT OUT
Updated June 2021
The health and social care professionals who provide you with care maintain records about your health and any treatment or care you have received previously (e.g. NHS Trust, GP Surgery, Walk-in Clinic, Social Care Package etc). These records help to provide you with the best possible health and social care.
Records may be held in electronic or manual format, and may include the following information.
- Details about you, such as address and next of kin
- Any contact the surgery has had with you, such as appointments, clinic visits, emergency appointments, etc.
- Notes and reports about your health
- Details about your treatment and care
- Results of investigations, such as laboratory tests, x-rays, etc
- Relevant information from other health professionals, relatives of those who care for you and know you well
To ensure you receive the best possible care, your records are used to facilitate the care you receive and will be shared with other health and social care professionals to aid decision making about your total care package. Information held about you may also be used to help protect the health of the public and to help us to manage the NHS. Information may be used for clinical audit to monitor the quality of the service provided. Where we do this, we take strict measures to ensure that individual patients cannot be identified.
Some of this information will be held centrally and used for statistical purposes. The surgery will always endeavour to gain your consent before releasing the information.
Should you have any concerns about how your information is managed at the surgery, please contact the Practice Manager to discuss how the disclosure of your personal information can be limited.
Every member of staff who works for an NHS or Social Care Organisation has a legal obligation to keep information about you confidential. Anyone who receives information from an NHS or social care organisation has a legal duty to keep it confidential.
We maintain our duty of confidentiality to you at all times. We will only ever use or pass on information about you if others involved in your care have a genuine need for it. We will not disclose your information to any third party without your permission unless there are exceptional circumstances (i.e. life or death situations), or where the law requires information to be passed on.
We may also have to share your information, subject to strict agreements on how it will be used, with the following organisations:
- NHS Trusts, Specialist Trusts, Independent Contractors such as dentists, opticians, pharmacists
- Private Sector Providers & Voluntary Sector Providers
- Ambulance Trusts, Clinical Commissioning Groups, Social Care Services
- Local Authorities, Education Services, Fire & Rescue Services, Police, Other 'Data Processors'
Staff Privacy Notice Updated 2020