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.
Household Setting Transmission Evaluation Dataset (HOSTED)
NHS Digital are working with Public Health England to understand how coronavirus (Covid-19) is spread around the population. We are doing this by using the address where there has been a known case of coronavirus to identify how many other people are registered at the same address.
The dataset will include known cases of lab-confirmed Covid-19 along with people who are registered as living at the same address. This is so we can understand the risks to people living in the same house as someone who has been diagnosed with the infection.
By using data from Public Health England on cases of Covid-19 and linking it to other data NHS Digital already hold we can identify people who live at the same address. The Unique Property Reference Numbers (UPRN) enable us to understand more about the type of address it is, for example whether it is an apartment block or care home.
We are sharing this information with Public Health England under the Legal Notice we have received from the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care due to the need to control and prevent the spread of Covid-19.
All personal identifiers will be removed before anyone sees the data for this study; the data shared with Public Health England will not include any names, addresses or contact details.
To read more about how we’re using data to support the response to COVID-19 see our COVID-19 response transparency notice.
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)
New tool to help hospitals with critical care capacity planning
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, and this data is supplemented with data collected by the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre (ICNARC), and the Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) and Emergency Care Dataset (ECDS) collected by NHS Digital. 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 Covid-19 response 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.
Electronic Prescribing and Medicines Administration (EPMA) data for coronavirus (COVID-19) response
To support the response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, NHS Digital is working with suppliers of EPMA (Electronic Prescribing and Medicines Administration) systems to collect prescribing and medicines administration data from NHS hospitals in England. The data includes what medicines have been prescribed to patients in hospital settings, how and when the medicine was taken by the patient (administration), the reasons for prescribing if this is available (known as indications) and the patient’s NHS number.
NHS Digital has been legally directed under the COVID-19 Public Health Directions 2020 to collect and analyse patient data, including this medicines data, to support the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. NHS hospitals are required to supply this data to NHS Digital in accordance with the electronic prescribing and medicines administration data provision notice issued which contains more information about the collection and the specific data to be collected.
Data will be analysed and shared by NHS Digital for coronavirus purposes including to support:
- research into the identification of patients at a high risk from coronavirus
- research into medicines and the severity of disease of patients who contract coronavirus including medicines that provide greater protection for those patients
- data on treatments prescribed for patients who have contracted coronavirus
- data to highlight patterns of prescribing from the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak and during, and after the peak infection
To read more about how NHS Digital is using data to support the response to coronavirus, the legal basis for this and who we may share your data with see our COVID-19 response transparency notice.
Covid-19 test programme data
NHS Digital has been legally directed to collect and analyse COVID-19 testing data for patients in England, including test results, to help with the government response to coronavirus. NHS Digital has collected this data from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) who have set up a National Testing Programme to test people who have coronavirus symptoms to see if they currently have the virus (antigen testing) as part of the Government’s five-pillar strategy for coronavirus testing. NHS Digital will share your test result data with your GP. We will also analyse and share relevant COVID-19 testing data with approved organisations for vital COVID-19 related planning, commissioning, monitoring and research purposes. This includes sharing:
- identifiable testing data with Public Health England (PHE) to support PHE’s statutory functions under the Health Protection (Notification) Regulations 2010 and the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984 and its responsibilities set out in its annual remit letter . Learn more information about how PHE use this data.
- non-identifiable testing data with NHS England for the purposes of producing COVID-19 testing dashboards to approved users to inform COVID-19 response planning and to monitor and manage the COVID-19 outbreak. Learn more about how NHS England uses this data.
- aggregate non-identifiable data derived from the testing data with government departments and agencies, scientists, researchers, local authorities (Directors of Public Health) and other relevant organisations for COVID-19 purposes.
We have also be legally requested by the NHS in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (the Devolved Administrations) to collect the testing data of patients of these countries so that this data can be shared with the Devolved Administrations so that they can use the data to inform individuals of their test results, to monitor and manage the risk of the outbreak and for other vital COVID-19 related planning, commissioning, monitoring and research purposes.
For more information about how NHS Digital uses your information, and what choices and rights you have, see How we look after your health and care information, our General transparency notice and our Coronavirus (COVID-19) response transparency notice.
Cancer Pathways Analysis (COVID-19)
NHS Digital are working with Public Health England to understand the direct and indirect impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the NHS and cancer patient outcomes.