NHS England: How information about you helps us to provide better care

Patient information, Privacy

HEALTHCARE DATA – We are informing our patients that NHS England is now asking for confidential information from your medical records to be used by the NHS to improve the services offered. This information along with your postcode and NHS number but not your name, is sent to a secure computer system where it can be linked to other health information.

You have a choice. If you are happy for your information to be used in this way, you do not have to do anything. If you have concerns or wish to prevent this from happening, please speak to our practice staff.

Introduction – Information about you and the care you receive is shared, in a secure system, by healthcare staff to support your treatment and care. It is important that the NHS, can use this information to plan and improve services for all patients.
NHS England would like to link information from all the different places where you receive care, such as your GP, hospital and community service, to provide a full picture. This will allow NHS England to compare the care you received in one area against the care you received in another, so that they can see what has worked best.

How your information is used and shared is controlled by law and strict rules are in place to protect your privacy. We need to make sure that you know this is happening and the choices you have.

Benefits of sharing information – Sharing information can help improve understanding, locally and nationally, of the most important health needs and the quality of the treatment and care provided by local health services. It may also help researchers by supporting studies that identify patterns in diseases, responses to different treatments and potential solutions.

What will NHS England do with the information? – NHS England will only use the minimum amount of information to help improve patient care and the services provided. NHS England have developed a thorough process that must be followed before any information can be shared. NHS England sometimes release information to approved researchers, if this is allowed under the strict rules in place to protect your privacy. NHS England are very careful with the information and follow strict rules about how it is stored and used. NHS England will make sure that the way information is used is in line with the law, national guidance and best practice. Reports that we publish will never identify a particular person.

Do I have a choice? – Yes. You have the right to prevent confidential information about you from being shared or used for any purpose other than providing your care, except in special circumstances. If you do not want information that identifies you to be shared outside your GP practice, you will need to let us know so that we can make a note of this in your medical record. This will prevent your confidential information being used other than where necessary by law, (for example, if there is a public health emergency). You will also be able to restrict the use of information held by other places you receive care, such as hospitals and community services. You should let your GP know if you want to restrict the use of this information. Your choice will not affect the care you receive.

Do I need to do anything? – If you are happy for your information to be shared you do not need to do anything. There is no form to fill in and nothing to sign and you can change your mind at any time. If you have concerns or are not happy for your information to be shared, speak to your GP.Where can I get more information? See the attached documents or go to www.nhs.uk/caredata or www.hscic.gov.uk