Read more about the collection and conversion of type 2 opt-outs


Find out about the collection and conversion of type 2 opt-outs.


From 25 May 2018 the type 2 opt-out has been replaced by the national data opt-out and all type 2 opt-outs previously held by NHS Digital up to 25 May 2018 have been converted to national data opt-outs. If you had a type 2 opt-out it will have been automatically converted.

If you requested that a type 2 opt-out was recorded at your GP surgery on or after 25 May 2018, until 1 October 2018, we, NHS Digital, continued to collect these monthly and automatically converted them to a national data opt-out for you. From 1 October 2018, GP surgeries should no longer be recording a type 2 opt-out code against your medical record.

For more information about how NHS Digital uses and discloses your national data opt-out please read the privacy notice.

The difference between your type 2 opt-out and the national data opt-out

All health and care organisations in England are required to apply your national data opt-out in line with the policy by March 2020, including hospitals and GP practices. Your type 2 opt-out only applies to confidential patient information being shared by NHS Digital.

National data opt-outs are not recorded at the GP surgery and instead you can change your national data opt-out using the online service or by calling our contact centre.

Young adults from the age of 13 can set and change their own national data opt-out.

What’s not changed

As for a type 2 opt-out, the purpose of the national data opt-out is to prevent the use of your confidential patient information for research and planning purposes.

Also, in the same way as a type 2 opt-out the national data opt-out does not apply where your confidential patient information is provided:

  • in anonymised form that is compliant with the Information Commissioner’s Office Code of Practice on anonymisation
  • to meet a mandatory legal requirement
  • under the public interest test (such as to support the investigation of serious crime and/or to prevent abuse or serious harm to others)
  • to the National Cancer Registration Service (this has its own opt-out)
  • to the National Congenital Anomalies & Rare Diseases Register (this has its own opt-out)

Your national data opt-out will continue to be applied by NHS Digital and is applied within 21 days of when we first receive and process the opt-out information. If you set a type 2 opt-out at your GP surgery after 25 May 2018 then be aware we only collected that information from your GP surgery once a month and it could take up to 21 days after we received that information for your opt-out to be put in place. 

Communicating the change

If you had a type 2 opt-out in place before 25 May 2018 and were aged 13 or over (or your 13th birthday was in June or July 2018) you will have received a letter to tell you that your opt-out has been converted to a national data opt-out.

If you recorded a type 2 opt-out in your GP surgery on or after 25 May 2018 you will have received a letter to tell you that the opt-out has been converted to a national data opt-out. These letters were only issued after the monthly collection of the type 2 opt-out data from your GP surgery had taken place. Usually this was in the month after your type 2 opt-out was recorded.