The data held in the GP medical records of patients is used every day to support health and care planning and research in England, helping to find better treatments and improve patient outcomes for everyone. NHS Digital has developed a new way to collect this data, called the General Practice Data for Planning and Research data collection.
The new data collection reduces burden on GP practices, allowing doctors and other staff to focus on patient care.
Patient data collected from general practice is helpful to support a wide variety of research and analysis to help run and improve health and care services. Whilst the data collected in other care settings such as hospitals is valuable in understanding and improving specific services, it is the patient data in general practice that helps us to understand whether the health and care system as a whole is working for patients. A short video (How the NHS uses your patient data from GP practices to improve health and care – YouTube) published by NHS Digital is available to highlight the importance of how patient data and information is used, both safely and the benefits of doing this.
This data will be shared from 1 September 2021. Data may be shared from the 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 1 September 2021 and was previously registered at a GP practice in England when the data collection started.
NHS Digital will not collect patients’ names or addresses. Any other data that could directly identify patients (such as NHS Number, date of birth, full postcode) is replaced with unique codes which are produced by de-identification software before the data is shared with NHS Digital.
If you don’t want your identifiable patient data to be shared for purposes except for your own care, you can opt-out by registering a Type 1 Opt-out digital.nhs.uk/opting-out-of-data-sharing or a National Data Opt-out ([Make your choice about sharing data from your health records – NHS: www.nhs.uk/your-nhs-data-matters/manage-your-choice, or both. These opt-outs are different, and they are explained in more detail below. Your individual care will not be affected if you opt-out using either option.
Below are some useful links aimed at the public to materials and messaging on the NHS and NHS Digital websites about the national data opt-out:
Links for the public:
- Choose if data from your health records is shared for research and planning – NHS (www.nhs.uk) www.nhs.uk/your-nhs-data-matters
- How the NHS uses your GP data for research and planning (includes a video and information is what is collected, and what isn’t collected): General Practice Data for Planning and Research (GPDPR) – NHS Digital
- How we look after your health and care information – NHS Digital: digital.nhs.uk/how-we-look-after-your-health-and-care-information
- Your choices on information we hold about you – NHS Digital
- General Practice Data for Planning and Research: NHS Digital Transparency Notice – NHS Digital (the more detailed info, including the different types of ‘opt-out’ available)