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NHS Data Sharing

by Webteam – 7th June 2021
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Are you comfortable with the way the UK public sector (and the NHS in particular) manages its IT systems, protects against hacking and looks after your personal data? If the answer is YES, then this article will probably be of little or no interest to you.

Haddenham Medical Centre is currently communicating with its patients, pointing out that the Practice is required by law to share some data from patients' clinical records with NHS Digital under the 'General Practice Data for Planning and Research Directions 2021'.

You can read the full communication from HMC here.

The NHS claims the following:

  • 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.

The Kingsfund has provided a commentary here.

However individuals can opt out of this data sharing process if they so choose. There are two ways of achieving this:
'Type 1 Opt-out' or 'National Data Opt-out'

Type 1 Opt-out

"Type 1" covers the data held in your GP medical records which may be shared with other healthcare professionals for the purposes of your individual care. It can also be shared with other organisations to support health and care planning and research.

However, if you do not want your personally identifiable patient data to be shared outside of your GP practice for purposes other than your own care, you can register an opt-out with your GP practice. To register a "Type 1 Opt-out" you can use the form referenced previously, in the Medical Centre communication.

This must be registered with Haddenham Medical Centre by 23rd June 2021.

National Data Opt-out

A "National Data Opt-out" covers NHS Digital's sharing your data with organisations that are not part of the NHS. While this allows the NHS to collect your GP data and use it internally, it stops them from sharing that data with any other organisations such as independent research bodies.

To register, free of charge, a "National Data Opt-out" online here.

Your opt-out will then be applied by NHS Digital and Public Health England, and by other health and care organisations by 30th September 2021(but please note, this is not a final deadline, you can opt out at any time.

You can also register your opt-out option by phoning NHS Digital on 0300 303 5678 Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm (excluding bank holidays), and a member of staff can help you to use the online service, make or change a choice on your behalf, or print and post a form to you.

Completed forms can be posted, by 30th September 2021, to:
National Data Opt Out, Contact Centre, NHS Digital, HM Government, 7 and 8 Wellington Place, Leeds, LS1 4AP

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