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National data sharing GP Connect and Summary Care Record Additional Information

The temporary changes made to GP Connect and Summary Care Record Additional Information in response to the COVID-19 pandemic will continue beyond the end of the Control of Patient Information (COPI) Notice. 


In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the health and social care system took action to manage and mitigate the spread and impact of the virus.

As a part of the response, a Control of Patient Information Notice (COPI Notice) was issued. Under this, it was agreed with national stakeholders that GP Connect should be enabled across all GP practices to share patient data nationally for direct care purposes. There was also a change to policy to enable Summary Care Record Additional Information to be made available by default, unless the patient had previously told the NHS that they did not want their information to be shared. 

The changes made have shown benefits, improved patient safety and been positively received by patients and healthcare professionals. There has also been a continued increase of usage of both services over the last 2 years.

What this means for patients

Patients can be reassured that if they have previously opted-out of sharing their data via GP Connect, having a Summary Care Record, or declined to provide consent to share their Additional Information, their preference will continue to be respected and applied as part of any policy change. Patients can also continue to express a Summary Care Record consent preference and they can change their mind at any time.

The use of both services is for direct patient care, which the National Data Guardian defines as

provided by health and social care staff working in care teams, which may include doctors, nurses and a wide range of staff on regulated professional registers, including social workers. Relevant information should be shared with them when they have a legitimate relationship with the patient or service user. 

Care teams may also contain members of staff, who are not registered with a regulatory authority, but who may need access to a proportion of someone’s personal data to provide care safely.

What this means for health and care services

The health and care service can be assured and confident that they have the legal basis to continue to provide and use these vital services for direct care purposes beyond 30 June 2022, when the COPI Notice expires.

Health and care services will need to update their privacy notices to ensure they no longer make reference to the COPI Notice. Guidance on this is available for GP Connect and SCRai.

Further information

In collaboration with NHS England, NHS Digital will keep stakeholders updated on the changes and further communications and engagement that will take place.

Please contact [email protected] if you have any questions relating to this

Last edited: 25 January 2024 9:39 am