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NHS account cookies policy

Version 2.7, 14 December 2022

This update covers:

  • the cookies we use on the NHS App
  • changes to the section ‘Cookies set by HotJar’, which explains that we stopped collecting HotJar cookies in December 2022
  • a new section ‘Cookies set by Qualtrics’, which explains that we started collecting Qualtrics cookies in December 2022

This cookies policy relates to the service provided by NHS Digital, giving you access to certain NHS services through our national digital channels. We now call this service your NHS account. You can continue to log in to your NHS account using the NHS App (formerly known as the native version) or NHS website (formerly known as the browser version) in the same way as you did previously. This cookies policy covers the use of your NHS account in both channels.

Your use of the NHS website other than for the services available in your NHS account will continue to be covered by the NHS website terms and conditions, privacy policy, cookies policy and other policies.

NHS Digital ("we" or "us") uses cookies to deliver the NHS account, through the NHS App ("NHS App") or the NHS website.

The information set out in this policy is provided in addition to the NHS account privacy policy and should be read alongside it.

We put small files called cookies on your device (for example, your phone).

Cookies are widely used to make websites and apps work, or work more efficiently, as well as to provide services and functionalities for users.

We use two types of cookie on your NHS account:

  • cookies that we need to put on your device for the your NHS account to work ("strictly necessary cookies")
  • optional analytic cookies to collect information about how your NHS account is used to help us improve it (sometimes referred to as "performance cookies")

We ask you to accept our cookies policy when you accept the NHS account terms of use and privacy policy. In doing so, you agree to let us put the strictly necessary cookies on your device.

The first time you log in we also offer you the choice of accepting or declining the optional analytic cookies that help us improve its performance.

Important

If you're using a public computer, make sure you:

  • log out of your NHS account
  • delete any health record documents you may have downloaded
  • delete any cookies from the web browser

Strictly necessary cookies we need to set

The strictly necessary cookies we need to put on your device for your NHS account to work are:

Name, purpose and expiry of strictly necessary cookies
Name Purpose Expires
HideBiometricBanner This cookie tells us if you can see the biometric banner. The biometric banner asks you if you want to log in using biometric data, for example facial recognition. 5 years
nhso.session NHS account session cookie. This is set when you log in to the app. It makes temporary use of your personal information previously collected by us, only holding information for the duration of your session. It is required by various features in your NHS account and is deleted when your session ends. When you close the app or browser window or sign out
NHSO-Session-Id NHS account session cookie. This is set when you log in to the app. It makes temporary use of your personal information previously collected by us, only holding information for the duration of the session. It's used to ensure you're securely logged in and your information is secure, and is deleted when your session ends. When you close the app or browser window or sign out
nhso.auth NHS account session cookie. This is set before you log in. It contains information used for login purposes. It does not collect, store or make use of any of your personal information and cannot be used to identify you. When you sign in
nhso.terms NHS account session cookie. This is set when you sign in. It temporarily stores whether you have accepted the conditions of use and optional analytic cookies, to improve the performance of your NHS account. It does not collect, store or make use of any of your personal information and cannot be used to identify you. When you close the app or browser window or sign out
nhso.notifications-prompt-### This lets us know if you’re logging in for the first time so we can show you a prompt to turn notifications on or off. 365 days
NHSO-Session-Expiry This lets us know how long it is before your session automatically times out due to inactivity so we can keep your data secure. The end of the session
SkipPreRegistrationPage This lets us know you have previously logged in so we do not show you the pre-registration page again. 5 years

Optional analytic cookies

We use software called Adobe Analytics, Hotjar and Qualtrics to collect performance data about how people use their NHS account. The information helps us to improve the NHS account.

Your "client IP address" is anonymised before it is shared with Adobe Analytics, Hotjar and Qualtrics. This means that you cannot be directly identified from this information. No other personal information (for example, your name or address) is collected for this purpose.

We do not allow Adobe, Hotjar or Qualtrics to use or share our analytics data.

You can choose whether to allow optional analytic cookies from your NHS account. To change your preference:

  1. Go to More.
  2. Select Account and settings.
  3. Select Legal and cookies.
  4. Then select Manage cookies.
  5. Switch Allow optional analytic cookies on or off.

When you change your preference, it applies to all the devices you use to log in to your NHS account.

Cookies set by Adobe Analytics

Name, purpose and expiry of cookies set by Adobe Analytics
Name Purpose Expires
s_cc This lets us know if your browser allows cookies. When you close your browser
s_sq This lets us know what the previous link you clicked on was. When you close your browser
AMCV_###@AdobeOrg This lets us know your unique visitor ID when you use our platform. 2 years
AMCVS_###@AdobeOrg This is set when you first log in. It lets us know your unique visitor ID each time you use our platform. 2 years
gpv This stores information which lets us know how many of our pages you visited. The end of the session
s_ppv This stores information which lets us know how far you scroll down the page. The end of the session
s_tp This lets us know how much of the page you viewed. The end of the session
s_getNewRepeat This lets us know if you're logging in for the first time. 1 month

Cookies set by Hotjar

The NHS account stopped using Hotjar cookies in December 2022.

We include the Hotjar cookies in our cookies policy because some of these cookies are persistent. This means that some of the Hotjar cookies stay on your device for up to 2 years until they expire or you delete them through your browser settings. 

Name, purpose and expiry of cookies set by Hotjar
Name Purpose Expires
ajs_anonymous_id Hotjar cookie. This cookie creates a random identification for users who want to stay anonymous. 365 days
_ga Hotjar cookie. This cookie helps us to tell the difference between you and someone else. 2 years
_gid Hotjar cookie. This cookie helps us to tell the difference between you and someone else. 1 day
hjid Hotjar cookie. This cookie is set when a visitor first lands on a page with the Hotjar script. It is used to persist the Hotjar User ID, unique to that site on the browser. This ensures that behaviour in subsequent visits to the same site will be attributed to the same user ID. 365 days
hjClosedSurveyInvites Hotjar persistent cookie. This cookie is set once a visitor interacts with a survey invitation modal pop-up. It's used to ensure that the same invite does not reappear if it's already been shown. 365 days
hjDonePolls Hotjar persistent cookie. This cookie is set once a visitor completes a poll using the feedback poll widget. It's used to ensure that the same poll does not reappear if it's already been filled in. 365 days
_hjFirstSeen Hotjar cookie. This cookie is used to detect your first session. The end of the session
hjMinimizedPolls Hotjar persistent cookie. This cookie is set once a visitor minimises a feedback poll widget. It's used to ensure that the widget stays minimised when the visitor navigates through your site. 365 days
hjDoneTestersWidgets Hotjar persistent cookie. This cookie is set once a visitor submits their information in the recruit user testers widget. It's used to ensure that the same form does not reappear if it's already been filled in. 365 days
hjMinimizedTestersWidgets Hotjar persistent cookie. This cookie is set once a visitor minimises a recruit user testers widget. It's used to ensure that the widget stays minimised when the visitor navigates through your site. 365 days
hjIncludedInSample Hotjar persistent cookie. This session cookie is set to let Hotjar know whether that visitor is included in the sample used to generate funnels. 365 days
_hjSession_### Hotjar cookie. This cookie keeps information from your session. It also records your activity as a single session. 30 minutes
_hjSessionUser_### Hotjar cookie. This cookie detects the first page you use when you log in to your NHS account. It also recognises your next visit. 365 days
hjShownFeedbackMessage Hotjar persistent cookie. This cookie is set when a visitor minimises or completes incoming feedback. This is done so the incoming feedback will load as minimised immediately if they navigate to another page where it's set to show. 365 days
_hjAbsoluteSessionInProgress Hotjar cookie. This cookie is used to detect the first pageview session of a user. 30 minutes
_hjIncludedInPageviewSample Hotjar cookie. This cookie is set to let Hotjar know whether that user is included in the data sampling defined by your site's pageview limit. 30 minutes
_hjIncludedInSessionSample Hotjar cookie. This cookie is set to let Hotjar know whether that user is included in the data sampling defined by your site's daily session limit. 30 minutes

Cookies set by Qualtrics

The NHS account started using Qualtrics cookies in December 2022.

Name, purpose and expiry of cookies set by Qualtrics
Name Purpose Expires
Site History Session This cookie detects the pages you visit on the NHS account. The end of the session
Sampling This cookie detects the number of times you visit the NHS account 1 week
Prevent Repeated Display This cookie is used to track whether we should display a feedback survey on repeated user visits Up to a maximum of 14 days
Popunder Target Session A pop-under is similar to a pop-up. A pop-up opens in front of the page you are looking at, but a pop-under opens behind the page you are looking at The end of the session
Other If you store cookies locally (in your browser) we keep some information in your browser cookies. This is so that the NHS account can show you the information you need The end of the session
QSI_HistorySession Stores the pages a visitor has visited for the current session The end of the session
ci_session Stores any data needed to be saved across a user session to improve user experience The end of the session
userType Tracks user type at login to Qualtrics software 2 years
brandID Tracks subdomain instance at login to Qualtrics software 2 years
qmarketingcommunity_feedback Tracks if a user has interacted with our feedback tab 2 months
qmarketingutmreftracking Tracks referrer and page behavior to allow for proper followup of form submissions 24 hours
users30day Tracks if a user has been active on our site in the last 30 days. We use that information to determine if we need to run other scripts and cookies. 30 days
fs_uid Records a website visitor session to improve website visitor experience 1 year
Hash of the sessionID Placed when you start a survey session on the same browser where you are working on another one Up to 1 year or when the session is complete
QST This cookie is to record the survey taken and prevent the user from taking the survey again 6 months
-reloadSession Helps inform Qualtrics what session to reload after the respondent leaves and comes back 15 minutes
XRSF-TOKEN This is a temporary cookie used for security while survey taking. It is only stored as long as the browser is open The end of the session

Your cookie choices

The majority of devices and browsers will allow you to alter the settings used for cookies and disable and enable them as you require.

You can select your cookie preferences so that you do not get any cookies (except strictly necessary cookies) if you prefer not to receive them.

You can also delete the cookies already on your device, and you can set your browser or device to prevent them being placed.

Please be aware that if you set your preferences to not allow cookies, it could limit the functionality of your NHS account as it needs the strictly necessary ones to function.

Changes to this cookie policy

The NHS account's terms of use, privacy policy and cookies policy may change. We'll inform you and request your continued agreement if we make any significant changes to the NHS account's terms of use, privacy policy or cookies policy.

Version history

  • Version 2.6, 2 September 2022 - minor update to add 6 HotJar cookies and 1 necessary cookie, and we have removed 2 Adobe Analytics cookies that we no longer use
  • Version 2.5, 6 April 2022 - minor update to remove BetaCookie
  • Version 2.4, 5 April 2022 - minor update to describe the way we talk about access to certain NHS services through our national digital channels
  • Version 2.3, 17 January 2022 - minor update to better describe how we use optional analytic cookies and how you can manage your cookie preferences
  • Version 2.2, 16 January 2020 - minor update to better describe how we use optional analytic cookies and how you can manage your cookie preferences
  • Version 2.1, 27 November 2019 - minor update to better describe how we use optional analytic cookies and how you can manage your cookie preferences if you use multiple devices
  • Version 2, 18 December 2018 - significant update for the app's public release in the Apple and Google Play stores
  • Version 1, 26 September 2018 - original version for the app's private beta release

If you would like to view a previous version, contact the NHS App team.

Page last reviewed: 5 April 2022
Next review due: 5 September 2024