National Data Opt Out

Posted by: marcia - Posted on:

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.

What is confidential patient information

Confidential patient information is when 2 types of information from your health records are joined together.

The 2 types of information are:

  • something that can identify you
  • something about your health care or treatment

For example, your name joined with what medicine you take.

Identifiable information on its own is used by health and care services to contact patients and this is not confidential patient information.

How we use your confidential patient information

Your individual care

Health and care staff may use your confidential patient information to help with your treatment and care. For example, when you visit your GP they may look at your records for important information about your health.

Research and planning

Confidential patient information might also be used to:

  • plan and improve health and care services
  • research and develop cures for serious illnesses

Your Choice

You can stop your confidential patient information being used for research and planning. There is a number of different channels are available for the public to set a national data opt-out.

These are:

  • a digital (online) channel accessed via the national data opt-out service.
  • for those who need support to set their national data opt-out preference online a digitally-assisted channel is provided that enables members of the public to set a national data opt-out with assistance from NHS Digital staff via the national helpline.
  • a non-digital (paper based) channel accessed by the national helpline or through forms which can be printed from the web pages, and
  • via the NHS App

If you’re happy with your confidential patient information being used for research and planning you do not need to do anything.

Any choice you make will not impact your individual care.