Data Sharing in the NHS
Patient data in the NHS is only ever shared for two reasons: to provide patients with the best possible care, and the planning and research needed to design health care services that suit patients.
Patient data is only ever shared within the NHS or with legitimate third parties who help the NHS.
Data is never sold or made available for insurance or marketing purposes, to sell or promote products or services, for market research or advertising.
For your care
When you register with a GP in England, the practice creates something called a Summary Care Record (SCR).
The SCR will include information about you such as your name, address, date of birth and NHS number. It will also contain details of any current medication, allergies or bad reactions you may have had to medicines in the past.
Having an SCR means that anyone involved in your care has access to this vital information. For example, if you need urgent treatment at a hospital or other NHS location, staff will know everything they need to about your health to give you the best possible treatment.
Not having a Summary Care Record means crucial decisions about your treatment may be delayed or made without the complete information.
However, you have the choice to opt out of having an SCR. You will need to complete an SCR patient consent preference form and return it to us.
For research and planning
Data sharing is vital to making sure that the NHS understands and adapts to patients’ changing needs. Data is also crucial in developing new initiatives, services and treatments such as vaccines. The NHS’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly the development and distribution of vaccines, would not have been possible without access to such vital information.
However, you have the choice to opt out of having your data used for planning and research purposes.
If you do not want your data to be shared for purposes other than your healthcare, you need to complete a National Opt-Out.
Visit the NHS Your Data Matters page for more information on how to make your choice.