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Coronavirus response information governance hub

Find out how NHS Digital is using your data in its work to support the government response to coronavirus (COVID-19).

Coronavirus (COVID-19) response transparency notice

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.

Read the coronavirus (COVID-19) response transparency notice.


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.

COVID Oximetry @home

COVID Oximetry @home involves the remote monitoring of patients with coronavirus symptoms. Patients use a pulse oximeter, a small monitor clipped to their finger, to measure their oxygen saturation levels regularly and record their results.

Patients are supported by clinical staff locally, so that if they need further treatment they can be admitted to hospital at the right time.

NHS Digital is providing information about potentially eligible patients to COVID Oximetry@home providers so that individuals may be contacted and offered the service. We are also collecting data for management and evaluation of the programme.

Read the COVID Oximetry @home transparency notice.

Emergency Department Digital Integration (EDDI)

As part of the NHS 111 First programme, the Emergency Department Digital Integration (EDDI) product will enable emergency department slot booking from 111 telephone and online services. This information is for healthcare professionals and NHS support staff who will be using the EDDI product.

Read the EDDI 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.

Read the Get an isolation note transparency notice

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.

Read the Get text messages from the NHS about coronavirus transparency notice.

NHS Covid 19 Vaccine Registry

The Sign up to be contacted for coronavirus vaccine studies service enables the public to register their permission for researchers to contact them about taking part in coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine studies in the UK. The service is accessed via where further details are provided about what is involved in vaccine research alongside links to studies currently recruiting. The details of those signing up are held in a UK wide NHS COVID-19 vaccine registry and researchers can access this data through the Data Access Request Service.

Read the Sign up to be contacted for coronavirus vaccine research transparency notice.

Read the Data Protection Impact Assessment.

NHS Digital is providing this service under the COVID-19 Directions given by Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.

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.

Read the Protective monitoring service for coronavirus NHS Test and Trace transparency notice

Remote Clinical Desktop solution

The Remote Clinical Desktop (RCD) solution is a response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency, enabling clinicians and supporting staff to access core clinical systems remotely away from their normal place of work.

Read the Remote Clinical Desktop transparency notice.

Summary Care Record application (SCRa)

We've updated one of our systems, the Summary Care Record application (SCRa), to provide essential information about a patient's coronavirus vaccination history, so health and care professionals can make a more informed decision about the direct care they provide to people during the pandemic.

This transparency notice explains how we handle the data around whether a person has received a coronavirus vaccine. It includes our purpose for collecting the data, the type of data we process and who we share it with.

How we're using your data to support the coronavirus (COVID-19) response

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.

COVID-19 At Risk patients

NHS Digital is commissioned to build and maintain the digital infrastructure to support central identification of potentially eligible patients for therapeutic treatment, COVID-19 and flu vaccinations. The digital infrastructure draws on a range of clinical and demographic data sources including but not limited to GP practice, hospital, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and COVID-19 test results data.

Organisations, including government, health and social care organisations need to access this vital data for a range of COVID-19 purposes, to help plan, monitor and manage the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which will help save lives. COVID-19 purposes for which this data may be analysed and used may include:

  • understanding COVID-19 and risks to public health, trends in COVID-19 and such risks, and controlling and preventing the spread of COVID-19 and such risks
  • identifying and understanding information about patients or potential patients with, or at risk of COVID-19, information about incidents of patient exposure to COVID-19 and the management of patients with or at risk of COVID-19 including: locating, contacting, screening, flagging and monitoring such patients and collecting information about and providing services in relation to testing, diagnosis, self-isolation, fitness to work, treatment, medical and social interventions and recovery from COVID-19.

Read the coronavirus (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 Public Health England (PHE) and 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) or have had the virus (antibody testing) as part of the Government’s five-pillar strategy for coronavirus testing.

NHS Digital will share your test result data with your GP, if you live in England. 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
  • identifiable testing data and non-identifiable testing data with NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHS E&I). The identifiable testing data is pseudonymised by NHSE E&I and then used to support NHS Test and Trace and the Joint Biosecurity Centre for surveillance and management of the outbreak and to support policy decision making. The non-identifiable testing data is used 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 and NHS Improvement use 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.
  • identifiable testing data with researchers to invite you to participate in research studies or clinical trials for COVID-19
  • identifiable testing data with NHS Blood and Transplant to invite you to donate convalescent plasma

We have also been legally requested by the NHS in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (the Devolved Administrations) to collect the community 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.

More information about the government’s coronavirus testing programme can be found on the website which includes more detailed privacy information about COVID-19 testing.

The COVID-RT Study

To support the response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, NHS Digital is working with Cancer Research UK to collect information about radiotherapy services from NHS providers in England. The data includes information about the patient’s tumour site, the type of radiotherapy treatment they received, when the treatment was received and the patient’s NHS number and date of birth.

Read the Transparency Notice.

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.

The emergency department streaming tool

The emergency department streaming tool is a kiosk-based service, provided as a web application by NHS Digital for use by patients who arrive at accident and emergency (A&E) departments. 

Patients answer questions about why they have come to hospital and the symptoms they have. Based on this, the service directs them appropriately. This could mean being seen in the A&E or directing or referring people to other urgent care services in the area.

The service has been commissioned as part of the 111 First initiative, which encourages everyone with an urgent health concern to visit or call 111 to find out the best place to get help. This will involve getting a booked arrival time if appropriate, which will help reduce unnecessary attendances at A&E during the coronavirus outbreak and enable social distancing.

The streaming tool is designed to provide help and direction for patients who did not contact a 111 service beforehand and have arrived at a hospital A&E with no pre-booked arrival time. 

Read the privacy statement for the emergency department streaming tool.

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.

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.

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.

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.

For more information see the NHS Blood and Transplant website . You will also find details about how they use your personal data in their privacy policy.

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.

ONS and NHS Digital COVID-19 Public Health Research Database: privacy policy

The COVID-19 Public Health Research Database will enable approved researchers to analyse whether particular illnesses, conditions or societal circumstances mean types of people are less or more likely to be affected by COVID-19, enabling the UK to tailor its approach to those groups to save lives and reduce the impact and spread of the virus.  

The information that researchers see about people in the database will be anonymous. This means that they will not be able to identify any individual the information is about.

Read the privacy policy

OpenSAFELY COVID-19 Service

The NHS England OpenSAFELY COVID-19 Service is a secure, transparent, open-source software platform for analysis of electronic health data. The system provides access to de-identified (pseudonymised) personal data to support Approved Users (academics, analysts, and data scientists) to undertake approved projects for COVID-19 research, COVID-19 clinical audit, COVID-19 service evaluation and COVID-19 health surveillance purposes.

The purposes for processing are to identify medical conditions and medications that affect the risk or impact of COVID-19 infection on individuals; this will assist with identifying risk factors associated with poor patient outcomes as well as information to monitor and predict demand on health services.

Read more about the data this service processes in the OpenSAFELY COVID-19 Service Privacy Notice.

Read more about this service's background and its value and status as a critical COVID-19 resource in the OpenSAFELY COVID-19 data provision notice.

Read the OpenSAFELY COVID-19 Service data protection impact assessment (DPIA) to understand the steps we have taken to comply with data protection law.

PANORAMIC national study

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) has awarded funding to the University of Oxford - working with several UK universities - to carry out a first-of-its-kind clinical trial. The trial will test novel antiviral COVID-19 treatments for use early in the illness, by people in the community with COVID-19 who are at higher risk of complications.

NHS England and the Department of Health and Social Care have commissioned NHS Digital to provide a solution to find people who would be eligible for the PANORAMIC Trial. A person’s GP practice and associated GP hub (GPs) will access their list of their patients via a secure GP web viewer on the NHS Digital platform.

It will run as a new service to enable GPs to access lists of their registered patients, who are eligible for trial participation based on the defined inclusion criteria. The GP will contact the patient with the intention of recruiting them for the trial.

NHS Digital is providing information about potentially eligible people so that their GP can discuss with them whether they would like to join the PANORAMIC Trial. 

To read more about how NHS Digital is using data to support PANORAMIC, the legal basis for this and who we may share your data with see our PANORAMIC: transparency notice.

Shielded Patient List - retired in September 2021

Between March 2020 and September 2021, the UK Chief Medical Officers (CMOs) identified and regularly reviewed the underlying clinical conditions for which people should be considered at high risk of complications from COVID-19 infection.  Learn more about the Shielded Patient List. 

Learn more about the Shielded Patient List

Treatments for coronavirus (COVID-19)

Treatment options are available for some people who have tested positive for COVID-19. NHS Digital is providing the technology to support the NHS to identify patients eligible for the drugs.

To deliver this service, NHS Digital is providing NHS teams with contact information of people who are potentially suitable for treatment. 

This information will be used in the following ways:

  • NHS England will write to all people who meet the clinical criteria to inform them that they may be suitable for treatment and provide them with a pre-registered PCR test kit
  • Integrated Care System COVID-19 medication delivery units (ICS CMDUs), commissioned by your local CCG, will contact patients who meet the clinical criteria to arrange a clinical assessment if they test positive. This will determine if they are suitable for treatment
  • where a person has provided their (or their representative’s) mobile or email contact information when booking their COVID-19 test and they test positive, they will be contacted by text/email to inform them they may be suitable for treatment
  • where is a person is in prison, youth offending institution or immigration centre, the centre will use the information to refer the person to the CMDU for assessment

To read more about how NHS Digital is using data to support COVID treatments, the legal basis for this and who we may share your data with see our COVID-19 treatments - 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.

View the Cancer Pathways Analysis (COVID-19) transparency notice.

Last edited: 30 August 2023 10:32 am