Why your data is important
The NHS uses information about patients (patient data) to research, plan and improve:
- the services we offer
- the treatment and care patients receive
We get this data from your GP surgery, hospitals and other healthcare providers. The organisation that collects your data is called NHS Digital.
To help improve services, NHS Digital shares this data with researchers from organisations such as universities or hospitals. This type of data-sharing has been happening for many years.
All data that is collected and shared is protected by strict rules around privacy, confidentiality and security.
We never sell patient data or share it with insurance or marketing companies.
Find out more about how NHS Digital is looking after your data.
Opting out of sharing your data
You can choose whether or not your data is used for research and planning. There are different types of data-sharing you can opt out of.
1. Stop your GP surgery from sharing your data
This is called a Type 1 Opt-out.
- To do this you need to fill in an opt-out form and return it to your GP surgery. Download a Type 1 Opt-out form.
- Only your GP surgery can process your opt-out form. They will be able to tell you if, and when, you have been opted out.
If you choose a Type 1 Opt-out, your GP will not share your data for research and planning. However, NHS Digital will still be able to collect and share data from other healthcare providers, such as hospitals.
Find out more about Type 1 Opt-out from NHS Digital’s transparency notice
2. Stop NHS Digital and other health and care organisations from sharing your data for research and planning
This is called the National Data Opt-out.
- To opt out online or find out more, visit Make your choice.
- If you choose this opt-out, NHS Digital and other health and care organisations will not be able to share any of your personal data with other organisations for research and planning, except in certain situations. For example, when required by law.
- If you want to check if you have opted out, you can enter your details again at Make your choice or check your settings in the NHS App.
You can opt out, or opt back in again, at any time.
Data used for your care
If you choose to opt out of sharing your data, your personal health information will still be used to make sure you get the treatment and care you need. For example, your data may be shared so that you can be referred to hospital or get a prescription.
Page last reviewed: 20 August 2021
Next review due: 20 August 2024