Hampton Medical Centre

Hampton Medical Centre, Lansdowne, 49a Priory Road, Hampton, Middlesex, TW12 2PB

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NHS Digital and your personal data

Posted on June 2nd, 2021

The government have announced that on July 1st, the personal data of all patients who haven’t opted-out will be shared with NHS Digital. This has been a rather under-the-radar, rushed implementation, with very short timeframes within which you can take decisions, and this has understandably prompted some critical media coverage.

While there are clearly benefits to research being conducted based on national data sets, we understand given successive governments’ tendency to lose large amounts of individuals’ personal data that our patients may be anxious about the proposed change. 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.

From a legal point of view, we have no ability to refuse to do this. All GP practices in England are legally required to share data with NHS Digital under the Health and Social Care Act 2012 (2012 Act), as set out in the data provision notice issued by NHS Digital to GP practices.

Because we anticipate large numbers of patients wishing to opt-out, we are looking at automating the process, and sending text messages out which you can reply to opt-out without our having to manually add the code to thousands of patient records. Please bear with us while we set this up; we will of course have a manual process for those who don’t have mobile phone numbers on their records.

This is the “type 1 opt-out”; as the chart below shows, this has been set up so that you also need to  opt-out directly with NHS Digital.

We will post an update here as soon as possible, and are grateful to our Patient Participation Group and Data Protection Officer for their input on this difficult topic.