NEMS Community Benefit Services (NEMS)
Data Protection Privacy Notice for Patients
This Privacy Notice lets you know what happens to any personal data that you give to us, or any that we may collect from or about you from other organisations.
This privacy notice applies to personal information processed by or on behalf of NEMS.
This Notice explains:
- Who we are and how we use your information
- Information about our Data Protection Officer (DPO)
- What kinds of personal information about you we hold and use (process)
- The legal grounds for our processing of your personal information (including when we share it with others)
- What you should do if your personal information changes
- How long we retain your personal information
- Your rights under data protection laws
The UK General Data Protection Regulation (UKGDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA 2018) became law on 25th May 2018, and 1st January 2021 when the UK exited the EU.
For the purpose of applicable data protection legislation ((including but not limited to the General Data Protection Regulation (Regulation (UK) 2016/679) (the "UKGDPR"), and the Data Protection Act 2018) NEMS is responsible for your personal data.
This Notice describes how we collect, use and process your personal data, and how, in doing so, we comply with our legal obligations to you. Your privacy is important to us, and we are committed to protecting and safeguarding your data privacy rights
How we use your information and the law.
NEMS acts as what’s known as the ‘Controller’ of the personal data you provide to us.
We collect basic personal data about you which does not include any special types of information or location-based information. This does however include name, date of birth, address, telephone number and other contact details.
We also collect sensitive confidential data known as “special category personal data”, in the form of health information, religious belief (if required in a healthcare setting) ethnicity, and sex during the services we provide to you and or linked to your healthcare through other health providers or third parties.
Why do we need your information?
The health care professionals who provide you with care maintain records about your health and any treatment or care you have received previously (e.g. NHS Hospital, GP Practice). These records help to provide you with the best possible healthcare and treatment.
NHS health records may be electronic, on paper or a mixture of both, and we use a combination of working practices and technology to ensure that your information is kept confidential and secure. Records which NEMS hold about you may include the following information:
- Details about you, such as your telephone contact number, address, carer, legal representative.
- Any contact NEMS has had with you, such as telephone consultations, emergency appointments, home visits, 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 or those who care for you
To ensure you receive the best possible care, your records are used to facilitate the care you receive. Information held about you may be used to help protect the health of the public and to help us manage the NHS and the services we provide. Information may be used within NEMS for clinical audit to monitor the quality of the service provided.
How do we lawfully use your data?
We need to hold your personal, sensitive and confidential data in order to provide you with Healthcare services. Under the General Data Protection Regulation we will be lawfully using your information in accordance with: -
Article 6, (e) processing is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority vested in the controller;
Article 9, (h) processing is necessary for the purposes of preventive or occupational medicine, for the assessment of the working capacity of the employee, medical diagnosis, the provision of health or social care or treatment or the management of health or social care systems
This Privacy Notice applies to the personal data of patients using NEMS services and the data you have given us about your carers/family members.
We use your personal and healthcare information in the following ways:
- when we need to speak to, or contact other doctors, consultants, nurses or any other medical/healthcare professional or organisation during the course of your diagnosis or treatment or on going healthcare;
- when we are required by law to hand over your information to any other organisation, such as the police, by court order, solicitors, or immigration enforcement.
- In a de-identified form to support planning of health services and to improve health outcomes for our population
We will never pass on your personal information to anyone else who does not need it, or has no right to it, unless you give us consent to do so.
Legal justification for collecting and using your information
The law says we need a legal basis to handle your personal and healthcare information.
Contract: We have an NHS Standard Contract with the Nottingham & Nottinghamshire ICB to deliver healthcare services to you. This contract provides that we are under a legal obligation to ensure that we deliver medical and healthcare services to the public.
Consent: Sometimes we also rely on the fact that you give us consent to use your personal and healthcare information so that we can take care of your healthcare needs.
Please note that you have the right to withdraw consent at any time if you no longer wish to receive services from us.
Necessary care: Providing you with the appropriate healthcare, where necessary. The Law refers to this as ‘protecting your vital interests’ where you may be in a position not to be able to consent.
Law: Sometimes the law obliges us to provide your information to an organisation (see above).
The law states that personal information about your health falls into a special category of information because it is very sensitive. Reasons that may entitle us to use and process your information may be as follows:
Public Interest: Where we may need to handle your personal information when it is considered to be in the public interest. For example, when there is an outbreak of a specific disease and we need to contact you for treatment, or we need to pass your information to relevant organisations to ensure you receive advice and/or treatment
Consent: When you have given us consent
Vital Interest: If you are incapable of giving consent, and we have to use your information to protect your vital interests (e.g. if you have had an accident and you need emergency treatment)
Defending a claim: If we need your information to defend a legal claim against us by you, or by another party
Providing you with medical care: Where we need your information to provide you with medical and healthcare services
Risk stratification data tools are increasingly being used in the NHS to help determine a person’s risk of suffering a condition, preventing an unplanned or (re)admission and identifying a need for preventive intervention. Information about you is collected from several sources including NHS Trusts and from NEMS. The identifying parts of your data are removed, analysis of your data is undertaken, and a risk score is then determined. This is then provided back to your GP as data controller in an identifiable form. Risk stratification enables your GP to focus on preventing ill health and not just the treatment of sickness. If necessary, your GP may be able to offer you additional services. Please note that you have the right to opt out of your data being used in this way in most circumstances, please contact your own GP practice for further information about opt out.
Sometimes we may provide information about you in an anonymised form. Such information is used analyse population- level heath issues, and helps the NHS to plan better services. If we share information for these purposes, then none of the information will identify you as an individual and cannot be traced back to you.
NEMS may conduct Medicines Management Reviews of medications prescribed to its patients. This service performs a review of prescribed medications to ensure patients receive the most appropriate, up to date and cost-effective treatments. The reviews are carried out by the ICBs Medicines Management Team under a Data Processing contract with NEMS.
NEMS is dedicated to ensuring that the principles and duties of safeguarding adults and children are holistically, consistently and conscientiously applied with the wellbeing of all, at the heart of what we do.
Our legal basis for processing For the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) purposes is: -
Article 6(1)(e) ‘…exercise of official authority…’.
For the processing of special categories data, the basis is: -
Article 9(2)(b) – ‘processing is necessary for the purposes of carrying out the obligations and exercising specific rights of the controller or of the data subject in the field of employment and social security and social protection law…’
How do we maintain the confidentiality of your records?
We are committed to protecting your privacy and will only use information collected lawfully in accordance with:
- Data Protection Act 2018
- UK GDPR 2021
- Human Rights Act 1998
- Common Law Duty of Confidentiality
- Health and Social Care Act 2012
- NHS Codes of Confidentiality, Information Security and Records Management
- Information: To Share or Not to Share Review
Every member of staff who works for an organisation providing services to the NHS has a legal obligation to keep information about you confidential.
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:
- life or death situations
- where the law requires information to be passed on
- in accordance with the information sharing principle following Dame Fiona Caldicott’s information sharing review (Information to share or not to share) where: “The duty to share information can be as important as the duty to protect patient confidentiality.” This means that health and social care professionals should have the confidence to share information in the best interests of their patients within the framework set out by the Caldicott principles.
NEMS’ policy is to respect the privacy of patients, their families and our staff and to maintain compliance with the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and all UK specific Data Protection Requirements. Our policy is to ensure all personal data will be protected.
All employees and sub-contractors engaged by NEMS are asked to sign a confidentiality agreement. NEMS will, if required, sign a separate confidentiality agreement if the client deems it necessary. If a sub-contractor acts as a data processor for NEMS an appropriate contract (art 24-28) will be established for the processing of your information.
In certain circumstances, you may have the right to withdraw your consent to the processing of data. Please contact the Data Protection Officer (DPO) in writing if you wish to withdraw your consent. In some circumstances we may need to store your data after your consent has been withdrawn to comply with a legislative requirement.
Some of this information will be held centrally and used for statistical purposes. Where we do this, we take strict measures to ensure that individual patients cannot be identified.
At any stage where we would like to use your data for anything other than the specified purposes and where there is no lawful requirement for us to share or process your data, we will ensure that you have the ability to consent and opt out prior to any data processing taking place. This information is not shared with third parties or used for any marketing and you can unsubscribe at any time via phone, email or by informing NEMS CBS’ DPO as below.
NHS Digital Data collection
The NHS needs data about the patients it treats to plan and deliver its services and to ensure that care and treatment provided is safe and effective. Further information about how this works can be found in the appendix to this document.
Where do we store your information electronically?
All the personal data we process is processed by our staff in the UK however for the purposes of IT hosting and maintenance, this information may be located on servers within the European Union.
No third parties have access to your personal data unless the law allows them to do so and appropriate safeguards have been put in place. We have a Data Protection regime in place to oversee the effective and secure processing of your personal and or special category (sensitive, confidential) data.
Who are our partner organisations?
We may also have to share your information, subject to strict agreements on how it will be used, with the following organisations;
- Integrated Care Boards (ICB)
- NHS Trusts / Foundation Trusts
- GP practices
- NHS Commissioning Support Units
- Independent Contractors such as dentists, opticians, pharmacists
- Private Sector Providers
- Voluntary Sector Providers
- Ambulance Trusts
- Social Care Services
- NHS England (NHSE) and NHS Digital (NHSD)
- Local Authorities
- Education Services
- Fire and Rescue Services
- Police & Judicial Services
- Other ‘data processors’ which you will be informed of
You will be informed who your data will be shared with and in some cases, asked for consent for this to happen, when this is required.
NEMS operates a Clinical Computer System on which the NEMS workforce record information securely. This information can then be shared with other clinicians so that everyone caring for you is fully informed about your medical history, including allergies and medication.
To provide around the clock safe care, unless you have asked us not to, we will make information available to our Partner Organisation (above). Wherever possible, their staff will ask your consent before your information is viewed.
Shared Care Records
To support your care and improve the sharing of relevant information to our partner organisations (as above) when they are involved in looking after you, we will share information to other systems. You can opt out of this sharing of your records with our partners at anytime if this sharing is based on your consent.
We may also use external companies to process personal information, such as for archiving purposes. These companies are bound by contractual agreements to ensure information is kept confidential and secure. All employees and sub-contractors engaged by NEMS are asked to sign a confidentiality agreement. If a sub-contractor acts as a data processor for [Practice Name] an appropriate contract (art 24-28) will be established for the processing of your information.
Sharing your information without consent
We will normally ask you for your consent, but there are times when we may be required by law to share your information without your consent, for example:
- where there is a serious risk of harm or abuse to you or other people;
- Safeguarding matters and investigations
- where a serious crime, such as assault, is being investigated or where it could be prevented;
- notification of new births;
- where we encounter infectious diseases that may endanger the safety of others, such as meningitis or measles (but not HIV/AIDS);
- where a formal court order has been issued;
- where there is a legal requirement, for example if you had committed a Road Traffic Offence.
How long will we store your information?
We are required under UK law to keep your information and data for the full retention periods as specified by the NHS Records management code of practice for health and social care and national archives requirements.
More information on records retention can be found online at (https://digital.nhs.uk/article/1202/Records-Management-Code-of-Practice-for-Health-and-Social-Care-2016)
How can you access, amend or move the personal data that you have given to us?
Even if we already hold your personal data, you still have various rights in relation to it. To get in touch about these, please contact us. We will seek to deal with your request without undue delay, and in any event in accordance with the requirements of any applicable laws. Please note that we may keep a record of your communications to help us resolve any issues which you raise.
Right to object: If we are using your data because we deem it necessary for our legitimate interests to do so, and you do not agree, you have the right to object. We will respond to your request within 30 days (although we may be allowed to extend this period in certain cases). Generally, we will only disagree with you if certain limited conditions apply.
Right to withdraw consent: Where we have obtained your consent to process your personal data for certain activities (for example for a research project), you may withdraw your consent at any time.
Right to erasure: In certain situations (for example, where we have processed your data unlawfully), you have the right to request us to "erase" your personal data. We will respond to your request within 30 days (although we may be allowed to extend this period in certain cases) and will only disagree with you if certain limited conditions apply. If we do agree to your request, we will delete your data but will generally assume that you would prefer us to keep a note of your name on our register of individuals who would prefer not to be contacted. That way, we will minimise the chances of you being contacted in the future where your data are collected in unconnected circumstances. If you would prefer us not to do this, you are free to say so.
Right of data portability: If you wish, you have the right to transfer your data from us to another data controller.
Access to your personal information
Data Subject Access Requests (DSAR): You have a right under the Data Protection legislation to request access to view or to obtain copies of what information NEMS holds about you and to have it amended should it be inaccurate. To request this, you need to do the following:
- Your request should be made to NEMS Quality Governance Manager; for information from the hospital you should write direct to them
- There is no charge to have a copy of the information held about you
- We are required to respond to you within one month
- You will need to give adequate information (for example full name, address, date of birth, NHS number and details of your request) so that your identity can be verified, and your records located information we hold about you at any time.
What should you do if your personal information changes?
Most patients will only use NEMS’ service occasionally; so we will check with you that your contact details are up to date each time you use our services.
The only website this Privacy Notice applies to is the NEMS website. If you use a link to any other website from NEMS’ website then you will need to read their respective Privacy Notice. We take no responsibility (legal or otherwise) for the content of other websites.
CCTV is installed on our premises covering both the external area of the building and the internal area excluding consulting rooms. Images are held to improve the personal security of patients and staff whilst on the premises, and for the prevention and detection of crime. The images are recorded onto an integral hard drive of the equipment and are overwritten on a rolling basis. Viewing of these digital images is password protected and controlled by the Estates Manager.
Our telephone system records all telephone calls. Recordings are retained for up to three years, and are used periodically for the purposes of seeking clarification where there is a dispute as to what was said and for staff training. Access to these recordings is restricted to named senior staff.
Medical Examiner Service
Following the death of any patients whilst under NEMS’ care we are now obliged to inform the NHS Trust, Medical Examiner Service.
Medical examiner offices at acute trusts now provide independent scrutiny of non-coronial deaths occurring in acute hospitals. The role of these offices is now being extended to also cover deaths occurring in the community.
Medical examiner offices are led by medical examiners, senior doctors from a range of specialties including general practice, who provide independent scrutiny of deaths not taken at the outset for coroner investigation. They put the bereaved at the centre of processes after the death of a patient, by giving families and next of kin an opportunity to ask questions and raise concerns. Medical examiners carry out a proportionate review of medical records, and liaise with doctors completing the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD).
NEMS will share any patient with the service upon request.
Objections / Complaints
Should you have any concerns about how your information is managed at NEMS, please contact the Quality Governance Manager or the DPO as below.
NEMS Quality Governance Manager
Postal: NEMS Quality Governance Manager
NEMS Community Benefit Services
Data Protection Officer:
The NEMS Data Protection Officer is Paul Couldrey of PCDC. Any queries in regard to Data Protection issues should be addressed to him at: -
Postal: Paul Couldrey
NBV Enterprise Centre
6 David Lane
If you are still unhappy following a review by NEMS, you have a right to lodge a complaint with a supervisory authority: You have a right to complain to the UK Supervisory Authority as below.
Tel: 01625 545745
If you are happy for your data to be extracted and used for the purposes described in this privacy notice, then you do not need to do anything. If you have any concerns about how your data is shared, then please contact the NEMS DPO.
If you would like to know more about your rights in respect of the personal data we hold about you, please contact the DPO as above.
It is important to point out that we may amend this Privacy Notice from time to time. If you are dissatisfied with any aspect of our Privacy Notice, please contact the Data Protection Officer.
Appendix: NHS Digital Data Collection from NEMS
The NHS needs data about the patients it treats to plan and deliver its services and to ensure that care and treatment provided is safe and effective. The General Practice Data for Planning and Research data collection will help the NHS to improve health and care services for everyone by collecting patient data that can be used to do this. For example patient data can help the NHS to:
- monitor the long-term safety and effectiveness of care
- plan how to deliver better health and care services
- prevent the spread of infectious diseases
- identify new treatments and medicines through health research
GP practices already share patient data for these purposes, but this new data collection will be more efficient and effective.
This means that GPs can get on with looking after their patients, and NHS Digital can provide controlled access to patient data to the NHS and other organisations who need to use it, to improve health and care for everyone.
Contributing to research projects will benefit us all as better and safer treatments are introduced more quickly and effectively without compromising your privacy and confidentiality.
NHS Digital has engaged with the British Medical Association (BMA), Royal College of GPs (RCGP) and the National Data Guardian (NDG) to ensure relevant safeguards are in place for patients and GP practices.
NHS Digital purposes for processing patient data
Patient data from GP medical records kept by GP practices in England is used every day to improve health, care and services through planning and research, helping to find better treatments and improve patient care. The NHS is introducing an improved way to share this information - called the General Practice Data for Planning and Research data collection.
NHS Digital will collect, analyse, publish and share this patient data to improve health and care services for everyone. This includes:
- informing and developing health and social care policy
- planning and commissioning health and care services
- taking steps to protect public health (including managing and monitoring the coronavirus pandemic)
- in exceptional circumstances, providing you with individual care
- enabling healthcare and scientific research
Any data that NHS Digital collects will only be used for health and care purposes. It is never shared with marketing or insurance companies.
What patient data NHS Digital collect
Patient data will be collected from GP medical records about:
- any living patient registered at a GP practice in England when the collection started - this includes children and adults
- any patient who died after the data collection started, and was previously registered at a GP practice in England when the data collection started
While 1 September has been seen by some as a cut-off date for opt-out, after which data extraction would begin, Government has stated this will not be the case and data extraction will not commence until NHS Digital have met the tests.
The NHS is introducing three changes to the opt-out system which mean that patients will be able to change their opt-out status at any time:
- Patients do not need to register a Type 1 opt-out by 1 September to ensure their GP data will not be uploaded
- NHS Digital will create the technical means to allow GP data that has previously been uploaded to the system via the GPDPR collection to be deleted when someone registers a Type 1 opt-out
- The plan to retire Type 1 opt-outs will be deferred for at least 12 months while we get the new arrangements up and running, and will not be implemented without consultation with the RCGP, the BMA and the National Data Guardian
We will not collect your name or where you live. Any other data that could directly identify you, for example NHS number, General Practice Local Patient Number, full postcode and date of birth, is replaced with unique codes which are produced by de-identification software before the data is shared with NHS Digital.
This process is called pseudonymisation and means that no one will be able to directly identify you in the data. The diagram below helps to explain what this means. Using the terms in the diagram, the data we collect would be described as de-personalised.
Image provided by Understanding Patient Data under licence.
NHS Digital will be able to use the same software to convert the unique codes back to data that could directly identify you in certain circumstances, and where there is a valid legal reason. Only NHS Digital has the ability to do this. This would mean that the data became personally identifiable data in the diagram above. An example would be where you consent to your identifiable data being shared with a research project or clinical trial in which you are participating, as they need to know the data is about you.
More information about when we may be able to re-identify the data is in the who we share your patient data with section below.
The NHS Digital programme will be providing further information as the programme progresses. In the meantime, if you have any questions, you can contact the programme at email@example.com.
The NHS Digital web pages also provide further information at https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/data-collections-and-data-sets/data-collections/general-practice-data-for-planning-and-research#additional-information-for-gp-practices.
The Data NHD Digital collect
We will only collect structured and coded data from patient medical records that is needed for specific health and social care purposes explained above.
Data that directly identifies you as an individual patient, including your NHS number, General Practice Local Patient Number, full postcode, date of birth and if relevant date of death, is replaced with unique codes produced by de-identification software before it is sent to NHS Digital. This means that no one will be able to directly identify you in the data.
NHS Digital will be able to use the software to convert the unique codes back to data that could directly identify you in certain circumstances, and where there is a valid legal reason. This would mean that the data became personally identifiable in the diagram above. It will still be held securely and protected, including when it is shared by NHS Digital.
NHS Digital will collect
- data on your sex, ethnicity and sexual orientation
- clinical codes and data about diagnoses, symptoms, observations, test results, medications, allergies, immunisations, referrals and recalls, and appointments, including information about your physical, mental and sexual health
- data about staff who have treated you
More detailed information about the patient data we collect is contained in the Data Provision Notice issued to GP practices.
NHS Digital Does not collect.
- your name and address (except for your postcode in unique coded form)
- written notes (free text), such as the details of conversations with doctors and nurses
- images, letters and documents
- coded data that is not needed due to its age – for example medication, referral and appointment data that is over 10 years old
- coded data that GPs are not permitted to share by law – for example certain codes about IVF treatment, and certain information about gender re-assignment
Opting out of NHS Digital collecting your data (Type 1 Opt-out)
If you do not want your identifiable patient data (personally identifiable data in the diagram above) to be shared outside of your GP practice for purposes except for your own care, you can register an opt-out with your GP practice. This is known as a Type 1 Opt-out.
Type 1 Opt-outs were introduced in 2013 for data sharing from GP practices, but may be discontinued in the future as a new opt-out has since been introduced to cover the broader health and care system, called the National Data Opt-out. If this happens people who have registered a Type 1 Opt-out will be informed. More about National Data Opt-outs is in the section Who we share patient data with.
NHS Digital will not collect any patient data for patients who have already registered a Type 1 Opt-out in line with current policy. If this changes patients who have registered a Type 1 Opt-out will be informed.
If you do not want your patient data shared with NHS Digital, you can register a Type 1 Opt-out with your GP practice. You can register a Type 1 Opt-out at any time. You can also change your mind at any time and withdraw a Type 1 Opt-out.
Data sharing with NHS Digital will start on 1 September 2021.
If you have already registered a Type 1 Opt-out with your GP practice your data will not be shared with NHS Digital.
If you wish to register a Type 1 Opt-out with your GP practice before data sharing starts with NHS Digital, this should be done by returning this form to your GP practice. If you have previously registered a Type 1 Opt-out and you would like to withdraw this, you can also use the form to do this. You can send the form by post or email to your GP practice or call 0300 3035678 for a form to be sent out to you.
If you register a Type 1 Opt-out after your patient data has already been shared with NHS Digital, no more of your data will be shared with NHS Digital. NHS Digital will however still hold the patient data which was shared with us before you registered the Type 1 Opt-out.
If you do not want NHS Digital to share your identifiable patient data (personally identifiable data in the diagram above) with anyone else for purposes beyond your own care, then you can also register a National Data Opt-out. There is more about National Data Opt-outs and when they apply in the National Data Opt-out section below.
NHS Digital legal basis for collecting, analysing and sharing patient data.
When we collect, analyse, publish and share patient data, there are strict laws in place that we must follow. Under the UK General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), this includes explaining to you what legal provisions apply under GDPR that allows us to process patient data. The GDPR protects everyone's data.
NHS Digital has been directed by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care under the General Practice Data for Planning and Research Directions 2021 to collect and analyse data from GP practices for health and social care purposes including policy, planning, commissioning, public health and research purposes.
NHS Digital is the controller of the patient data collected and analysed under the GDPR jointly with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.
All GP practices in England are legally required to share data with NHS Digital for this purpose under the Health and Social Care Act 2012 (2012 Act). More information about this requirement is contained in the Data Provision Notice issued by NHS Digital to GP practices.
NHS Digital has various powers to publish anonymous statistical data and to share patient data under sections 260 and 261 of the 2012 Act. It also has powers to share data under other Acts, for example the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007.
Regulation 3 of the Health Service (Control of Patient Information) Regulations 2002 (COPI) also allow confidential patient information to be used and shared appropriately and lawfully in a public health emergency. The Secretary of State has issued legal notices under COPI (COPI Notices) requiring NHS Digital, NHS England and Improvement, arm's-length bodies (such as Public Health England), local authorities, NHS trusts, clinical commissioning groups and GP practices to share confidential patient information to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. Any information used or shared during the COVID-19 outbreak will be limited to the period of the outbreak unless there is another legal basis to use confidential patient information.
The legal basis under UKGDPR for General Practice Data for Planning and Research
How NHS Digital use patient data
NHS Digital will analyse and link the patient data we collect with other patient data we hold to create national data sets and for data quality purposes.
NHS Digital will be able to use the de-identification software to convert the unique codes back to data that could directly identify you in certain circumstances for these purposes, where this is necessary and where there is a valid legal reason. There are strict internal approvals which need to be in place before we can do this and this will be subject to independent scrutiny and oversight by the Independent Group Advising on the Release of Data (IGARD).
These national data sets are analysed and used by NHS Digital to produce national statistics and management information, including public dashboards about health and social care which are published. We never publish any patient data that could identify you. All data we publish is anonymous statistical data.
We may also carry out analysis on national data sets for data quality purposes and to support the work of others for the purposes set out in Our purposes for processing patient data section above.
Who NHS Digital share patient data with
All data which is shared by NHS Digital is subject to robust rules relating to privacy, security and confidentiality and only the minimum amount of data necessary to achieve the relevant health and social care purpose will be shared.
All requests to access patient data from this collection, other than anonymous aggregate statistical data, will be assessed by NHS Digital’s Data Access Request Service, to make sure that organisations have a legal basis to use the data and that it will be used safely, securely and appropriately.
These requests for access to patient data will also be subject to independent scrutiny and oversight by the Independent Group Advising on the Release of Data (IGARD). Organisations approved to use this data will be required to enter into a data sharing agreement with NHS Digital regulating the use of the data.
There are a number of organisations who are likely to need access to different elements of patient data from the General Practice Data for Planning and Research collection. These include but may not be limited to:
- the Department of Health and Social Care and its executive agencies, including Public Health England and other government departments
- NHS England and NHS Improvement
- primary care networks (PCNs), clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and integrated care organisations (ICOs)
- local authorities
- research organisations, including universities, charities, clinical research organisations that run clinical trials and pharmaceutical companies
If the request is approved, the data will either be made available within a secure data access environment within NHS Digital infrastructure, or where the needs of the recipient cannot be met this way, as a direct dissemination of data. We plan to reduce the amount of data being processed outside central, secure data environments and increase the data we make available to be accessed via our secure data access environment. For more information read about improved data access in improving our data processing services.
Data will always be shared in the uniquely coded form (de-personalised data in the diagram above) unless in the circumstances of any specific request it is necessary for it to be provided in an identifiable form (personally identifiable data in the diagram above). For example, when express patient consent has been given to a researcher to link patient data from the General Practice for Planning and Research collection to data the researcher has already obtained from the patient.
It is therefore possible for NHS Digital to convert the unique codes back to data that could directly identify you in certain circumstances, and where there is a valid legal reason which permits this without breaching the common law duty of confidentiality. This would include:
- where the data was needed by a health professional for your own care and treatment
- where you have expressly consented to this, for example to participate in a clinical trial
- where there is a legal obligation, for example where the COPI Notices apply - see Our legal basis for collecting, analysing and sharing patient data above for more information on this
- where approval has been provided by the Health Research Authority or the Secretary of State with support from the Confidentiality Advisory Group (CAG) under Regulation 5 of the Health Service (Control of Patient Information) Regulations 2002 (COPI) - this is sometimes known as a ‘section 251 approval’
This would mean that the data was personally identifiable in the diagram above. Re-identification of the data would only take place following approval of the specific request through the Data Access Request Service, and subject to independent assurance by IGARD and consultation with the Professional Advisory Group, which is made up of representatives from the BMA and the RCGP. If you have registered a National Data Opt-out, this would be applied in accordance with the National Data Opt-out policy before any identifiable patient data (personally identifiable data in the diagram above) about you was shared. More about the National Data Opt-out is in the section below.
Details of who we have shared data with, in what form and for what purposes are published on our data release register.
Where NHS digital stores patient data
NHS Digital only stores and processes patient data for this data collection within the United Kingdom (UK).
Fully anonymous data (that does not allow you to be directly or indirectly identified), for example statistical data that is published, may be stored and processed outside of the UK. Some of our processors may process patient data outside of the UK. If they do, we will always ensure that the transfer outside of the UK complies with data protection laws.