Your Data Matters to the NHS
In May 2018, the strict rules about how this data can and cannot be used were strengthened. The NHS is committed to keeping patient information safe and always being clear about how it is used.
How your data is used
Your health and care information is used to improve your individual care. It is also used
to help us research new treatments, decide where to put GP clinics and plan for the
number of doctors and nurses in your local hospital. Wherever possible we try to use
data that does not identify you, but sometimes it is necessary to use your
confidential patient information.
What is confidential patient information?
Confidential patient information identifies you and says something about your health,
care or treatment. You would expect this information to be kept private. Information
that only identifies you, like your name and address, is not considered confidential
patient information and may still be used: for example, to contact you if your GP
practice is merging with another.
Who can use your confidential patient
It is used by the NHS, local authorities, university and hospital researchers, medical
colleges and pharmaceutical companies researching new treatments.
Making your data opt-out choice
You can choose to opt out of sharing your confidential patient information for research
and planning. There may still be times when your confidential patient information is
used: for example, during an epidemic where there might be a risk to you or to
other people’s health. You can also still consent to take part in a specific
Will choosing this opt-out affect your care and treatment?
No, your confidential patient information will still be used for your individual care.
Choosing to opt out will not affect your care and treatment. You will still be invited
for screening services, such as screenings for bowel cancer.
What should you do next?
You do not need to do anything if you are happy about how your confidential patient
information is used. If you do not want your confidential patient information to be used for
research and planning, you can choose to opt out securely online or through
a telephone service. You can change your choice at any time by visiting
nhs.uk/your-nhs-data-matters or telephone 0300 303 5678