From September 1st 2021, GP practices across the UK will start sharing patient data. The data held in the GP medical records of patients is used every day to support health and care planning and research in England, helping to find better treatments and improve patient outcomes.

The new General Practice Data for Planning and Research (GPDPR) will reduce burden on GP practices, allowing doctors and other staff to focus on patient care.

NHS Digital has engaged with the British Medical Association (BMA), Royal College of GPs (RCGP) and the National Data Guardian (NDG) to ensure the relevant safeguards are in place for patients and GP practices.

What data will be shared

Data may be shared from GP medical records about:

  • diagnoses, symptoms, observations, test results, medications, allergies, immunisations, referrals, recalls and appointments, including information about physical, mental and sexual health
  • data on sex, ethnicity and sexual orientation
  • data about staff who have treated patients

What data will not be shared

  • name and address (except for postcode, protected in a unique coded form)
  • written notes, such as the details of conversations with doctors and nurses
  • images, letters and documents
  • coded data that is not needed due to its age - for example medication, referral and appointment data that is over 10 years old
  • coded data that GPs are not permitted to share by law - for example certain codes about IVF treatment, and certain information about gender re-assignment

How do I opt-out?

There are two ways for people to opt-out of NHS Digital:

Type 1 opt-out

A type 1 opt-out is where you can tell your GP practice you do not want your confidential patient information held in your GP medical record to be used for purposes other than your individual care. This opt-out request can only be recorded by your GP practice.

If you do not want your data to be shared with NHS Digital, you need to return this form to your GP practice by Wednesday 23rd June. You can send the form by post or email to your GP practice or call 0300 303 5678 for a form to be sent to you.

National Data Opt-out

If you don't want your confidential patient information to be shared by NHS Digital for purposes except your own care - either GP data, or other data such as hospital data - you can register a National Data Opt-out.

If you have registered a National Data Opt-out, NHS Digital won't share any confidential patient information about you with any organisations unless there is an exemption to this, such as where there is a legal requirement or where it is in the public interest to do so, such as helping to manage contagious diseases like coronavirus.

You can find out more about and register a National Data Opt-out or change your choice here, or by calling 0300 303 5678.

More information can be found here.