We are undertaking a range of work to support the government response to the coronavirus outbreak. This notice details our legal bases for processing personal data in the course of this work.
We're working on a range of services to help patients and health and care staff in response to coronavirus (COVID-19).
Changes to your Summary Care Record
In light of the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Department of Health and Social Care has made some changes to the information which is shared through your Summary Care Record. For more information about these changes, your options and how your Summary Care Record is used read our Summary Care Record Supplementary Transparency Notice.
Get an isolation note service
The Get an isolation note service processes data to allow users to get an isolation note to share with their employer if they have been advised to self-isolate.
Get text messages from the NHS about coronavirus
The Get text messages from the NHS about coronavirus service allows users who have completed the NHS 111 online coronavirus assessment and who are isolating to sign up for text messages from the NHS, providing support and advice.
Protective monitoring service for coronavirus NHS Test and Trace
To manage and mitigate the spread and impact of the current outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19), the government are rolling out NHS Test and Trace, a service which includes testing people for coronavirus, tracking the spread of the virus and tracing the people an infected person has come into contact with using both digital technology (the NHS Covid-19 App) and using manual contact tracing methods.
As part of the NHS Test and Trace programme (TT), NHS Digital’s Data Security Centre (DSC) is providing protective monitoring services to provide cyber security and resilience to the underlying infrastructure and operations that support the TT programme.
Shielded Patient List
NHS Digital has produced a Shielded Patient List (SPL) of patients in England with pre-existing medical conditions which doctors have identified will make those patients clinically extremely vulnerable to coronavirus (also referred to as COVID-19) and who it is recommended take shielding measures. The SPL (formerly known as the vulnerable patient list) means that the NHS and other organisations, including local authorities and the Cabinet Office who run the government’s Extremely Vulnerable Person Service can identify and contact those patients who need specific advice about their circumstances and offer them help and support.
Get more information about the Shielded Patient List including the SPL transparency notice which is regularly updated and outlines what data has been used to produce the list, how the list was produced and is maintained and who we share the list with.
If you have been told you are clinically extremely vulnerable to coronavirus, guidance on shielding is available on the gov.uk website where you can register online even if you do not need additional support right now.
Capacity Planning and Analysis System (CPAS)
NHS Digital is working with Public Health England (PHE) and Cambridge University on a new tool to help hospitals with critical care capacity planning. The tool, called the Capacity Planning and Analysis System (CPAS), uses machine learning technology to analyse data and produce predictions that can be used by hospital Intensive Treatment Units (ITUs) to help plan what staff, beds and ventilators they may need, based on the number of patients they are currently treating for coronavirus (COVID-19).
The tool analyses data collected from PHE about patients who are being treated for coronavirus. The model provides data-driven insight reports to assist hospitals in critical care capacity planning for the treatment of COVID-19 patients, including planning for staffing, beds, ICU levels, and ventilation requirements. The tool also supports regional and national capacity planning and will provide reports to PHE, the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) and NHS England and Improvement (NHSEI). No individual patient level predictions are provided or patient-level data presented in the information shared.
NHS Digital is able to share the data with PHE, DHSC, NHSEI and Hospital Trusts under the COPI Notice we have been issued with by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care. This requires us to share confidential patient information for COVID-19 purposes. For more information about how NHS Digital is processing your data to support the response to COVID-19, see our coronavirus transparency notice.
NHS Blood and Transplant Convalescent Plasma
NHS Digital are working with NHS Blood and Transplant to identify individuals who have recovered (at least 28 days post infection) from coronavirus (Covid-19). NHS Blood and Transplant will contact those individuals to invite them to donate convalescent plasma, which is being explored as a possible treatment for coronavirus.
NHS Blood and Transplant provide a blood and transplantation service to the NHS, looking after blood donation services in England and transplant services across the UK. This includes managing the donation, storage and transplantation of blood, organs, tissues, bone marrow and stem cells, and researching new treatments and processes.
We are sharing this information with NHS Blood and Transplant under the Legal Notice we have received from the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care due the need for them to find donors urgently to help tackle the virus.
To read more about how we’re using data to support the response to COVID-19 see our COVID-19 response transparency notice.
To read more about the health and care information NHS Digital collects, our legal basis for collecting this information and what choices and rights you have see: How we look after your health and care information.
CP-IS child protection data sharing during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic
NHS Digital operates an IT system known as the Child Protection Information Sharing system (CP-IS). This system helps health and social care staff in England to share information about child protection plans securely, to better protect society's most vulnerable children. When a child is known to social services and is a looked after child, on a child protection plan or unborn child protection plan, basic information about that plan (referred to in this notice as CP Information) is shared securely with the NHS through CP-IS.
During the coronavirus pandemic, CP information will be extracted from CP-IS and shared with school nurses and health visitors, who work for local 0-19 public health service providers. This is because school nurses and health visitors cannot currently access CP-IS.
This information is being shared for child protection and health safeguarding purposes and will provide school nurses and health visitors across England with an additional reliable source of information about children on a protection plan and children with a looked after status. This will support them to provide healthcare services to those children at a time when local arrangements for data-sharing may be more difficult to administer due to the impact of coronavirus.
For more information, see the Child Protection Information Sharing (CP-IS) data sharing coronavirus transparency notice.
GPES data for pandemic planning and research (COVID-19)
Coronavirus (COVID-19) has led to increased demand on general practices, including an increasing number of requests to provide patient data to inform planning and support vital research on the cause, effects, treatments, and outcomes for patients of the virus.
To support the response to the coronavirus outbreak, NHS Digital has been legally directed to collect and analyse healthcare information about patients, including from their GP record, for the duration of the coronavirus emergency period.
Data will be analysed and shared by NHS Digital for coronavirus (COVID-19) research purposes including:
- carrying out vital research into treatments and vaccines for the virus, including clinical trials
- identifying coronavirus trends and risks to public health
- diagnosing and monitoring the effects of coronavirus
- controlling and helping to prevent the spread of the virus
- planning and providing health, social care and other public services to the public
- helping clinicians, scientists, public health bodies and the government to provide guidance and develop policies to respond to the outbreak
- monitoring and managing the outbreak
For more information see GPES data for pandemic planning and research (COVID-19), and the GPES data for pandemic planning and research transparency notice.