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Overview Choose if data from your health records is shared for research and planning

Information:

There have been posts on social media with false information about opting out of sharing your data with the NHS.

Here's what you need to know:

  • There is no 30 September deadline for opting out of sharing your data. You can opt out at any time.
  • NHS Digital will never sell your data.
  • There are strict rules about how NHS can use your data. It's only shared securely and safely.
  • Shared data helps the NHS. It has been used to find the first treatment for coronavirus and for vaccine research.

Read NHS Digital's response to the false information about the national data opt-out

Your health records contain a type of data called confidential patient information. This data can be used to help with research and planning.

You can choose to stop your confidential patient information being used for research and planning. You can also make a choice for someone else like your children under the age of 13.

Your choice will only apply to the health and care system in England. This does not apply to health or care services accessed in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

This information is also available in other languages and formats.

Information:

Coronavirus update

To help the NHS respond to coronavirus, your information may be used for coronavirus research purposes even if you have chosen not to share it. Any information used will be shared appropriately and lawfully.

What is confidential patient information

Confidential patient information is when 2 types of information from your health records are joined together.

The 2 types of information are:

  • something that can identify you
  • something about your health care or treatment

For example, your name joined with what medicine you take.

Identifiable information on its own is used by health and care services to contact patients and this is not confidential patient information.

How we use your confidential patient information

Your individual care

Health and care staff may use your confidential patient information to help with your treatment and care. For example, when you visit your GP they may look at your records for important information about your health.

Research and planning

Confidential patient information might also be used to:

  • plan and improve health and care services
  • research and develop cures for serious illnesses

Your choice

You can stop your confidential patient information being used for research and planning. Find out how to make your choice.

If you're happy with your confidential patient information being used for research and planning you do not need to do anything.

Any choice you make will not impact your individual care.

Page last reviewed: 10 July 2019
Next review due: 10 July 2022