How your data is used Find out why your data matters

The NHS collects health and care data from all NHS organisations, trusts and local authorities. Data is also collected from private organisations, such as private hospitals providing NHS funded care. Research bodies and organisations can request access to this data.

More information on health and care records - Page opens in new window .

Research bodies and organisations include:

  • university researchers
  • hospital researchers
  • medical royal colleges
  • pharmaceutical companies researching new treatments

Most of the time, we use anonymised data for research and planning. So your confidential patient information isn’t always needed. If you do opt out, data that does not identify you may still be used.

Who can’t use your data

There are very strict rules on how your data can and cannot be used, and you have clear data rights.

Access to confidential patient information will not be given for:

  • marketing purposes
  • insurance purposes

(unless you specifically request this)

How your data is protected

Protection of your confidential patient information is taken very seriously and is looked after in accordance with good practice and the law.

Every organisation that provides health and care services will take every step to:

  • ensure data remains secure
  • use anonymised data whenever possible
  • use confidential patient information to benefit health and care
  • not use confidential patient information for marketing or insurance purposes (unless you specifically request this)
  • make it clear why and how data is being used
  • respect your decision if you decide to opt out
  • only use information about you where allowed by the law

All NHS organisations must provide information on the type of data they collect and how it is used. Data release registers are published by NHS Digital and Public Health England, showing records of the data they have shared with other organisations.

NHS Digital Data Release Register - Page opens in new window .

Public Health England data release register - Page opens in new window .

More information on your data rights - Page opens in new window .

More information on how we protect your data - Page opens in new window .