COVID-19 and your information – Updated on 27th May 2020
Supplementary privacy notice on Covid-19 for Patients
This notice describes how we may use your information to protect you and others during the Covid-19 outbreak. It supplements our main Privacy Notice which is available here.
The health and social care system is facing significant pressures due to the Covid-19 outbreak. Health and care information is essential to deliver care to individuals, to support health and social care services and to protect public health. Information will also be vital in researching, monitoring, tracking and managing the outbreak. In the current emergency it has become even more important to share health and care information across relevant organisations.
Existing law which allows confidential patient information to be used and shared appropriately and lawfully I a public health emergency is being used during this outbreak. Using this law the Secretary of State has required NHS Digital; NHS England and Improvement; Arms Length Bodies (such as Public Health England); local authorities; health organisations and GPs to share confidential patient information to respond to the Covid-19 outbreak. Any information used or shared during the Covid-19 outbreak will be limited to the period of the outbreak unless there is another legal basis to use the data. Further information is available on gov.uk here and some FAQs on this law are available here.
During this period of emergency, opt-outs will not generally apply to the data used to support the Covid-19 outbreak, due to the public interest in sharing information. This includes National Data Opt-Outs. However in relation to the Summary Care Record, existing choices will be respected. Where data is used and shared under these laws your right to have personal data erased will also not apply. It may also take us longer to respond to Subject Access Requests (SARs), Freedom of Information requests (FOIs) and new opt out requests whilst we focus our efforts on responding to the outbreak.
In order to look after your health and care needs we may share your confidential patient information included health and care records with clinical and non-clinical staff in other health and care providers, for example neighbouring GP practices, hospitals and NHS 111. We may also use the details we have to send public health messages to you, either by phone, text message or email.
During this period of emergency we may offer you a consultation via telephone or video conferencing. By accepting the invitation and entering the consultation you are consenting to this. Your personal/confidential patient information will be safeguarded in the same way it would with any other consultation.
We will also be required to share personal confidential patient information with health and care organisations and other bodies engaged in disease surveillance for the purposes of protecting public health, providing healthcare services to the public and monitoring and managing the outbreak. Further information about how health and care data is being used and shared by other NHS and social care organisations in a variety of ways to support the Covid-19 response is here.
NHS England and Improvement and the NHSX have developed a single, secure store to gather data from across the health and care system to information the Covid-19 response. This includes data already collected by NHS England, NHS Improvement, Public Health England and NHS Digital. New data will include 999 call data, data about hospital occupancy and A&E capacity data as well as data provided by patient themselves. All the data held in the platform is subject to strict controls that meet the requirements of data protection legislation.
In such circumstances where you tell us you’re experiencing Covid-19 symptoms we may need to collect specific health data about you. Where we need to do so, we will not collect more information than we require and we will ensure that any information collected is treated with the appropriate safeguards.
Research and Planning
Purpose – for the collection of Personal confidential data regarding the diagnosis, testing, self-isolating, fitness to work, treatment medical and social interventions and recovery from Covid-19. To enable research and planning during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Legal Basis - Notice under Regulation 3(4) of the Health Service (Control of Patient Information) Regulations 2002 (COPI), which were made under sections 60 (now section 251 of the NHS Act 2006) and 64 of the Health and Social Care Act 2001. Data will only be extracted for those patients who have consented to the process.
Provider - BioBank
NHS 111 COVID-19 Triage response
Purpose – in order for NHS 111 to triage patient calls with queries regarding Covid-19 during practice closures or times of pressure on the system, enabling the robust process for patients, potentially suffering with covid-19, to be triaged and treated in the most effective and appropriate way.
Legal Basis - The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has issued NHS Digital with a Notice under Control of Patient Information Regulations (COPI). This allows NHS Digital to share patient information with organisations entitled to process this under COPI for COVID-19 purposes. This means that for GP Connect, NHSD are creating a single ‘National Sharing Agreement’ on the Spine that contains all GP practices in England.
Patients can opt out of their information being shared with GP Connect by contacting their GP practice and requesting a Type 1 Opt out. Please note that opting out of having information shared may delay or impair the ability for urgent treatment.
Processor – NHS Digital, NHS 111 via GP Connect
General Practice Extraction Service (GPES)
Covid-19 Planning and Research data
Purpose : Personal confidential and Special Category data will be extracted at source from GP systems for the use of planning and research for the Covid-19 pandemic emergency period. Requests for data will be required from NHS Digital via their secure NHSX SPOC Covid-19 request process.
Legal Basis : NHS Digital has been directed by the Secretary of State under section 254 of the 2012 Act under the COVID-19 Direction to establish and operate a system for the collection and analysis of the information specified for this service: GPES Data for Pandemic Planning and Research (COVID-19). A copy of the COVID-19 Direction is published here:
Patients who have expressed an opt out preference via Type 1 objections with their GP surgery, not to have their data extracted for anything other than their direct care will not be party to this data extraction.
Processor : NHS Digital NHS X
This practice is supporting vital coronavirus (COVID-19) planning and research by sharing your data with NHS Digital. For more information about this see: