NHS Digital is the national safe haven for patient data in England and we collect, analyse, publish and share healthcare data safely, securely and appropriately as part of our statutory functions.
Data will only be made available in response to appropriate requests from data applicants who need it for coronavirus purposes including to improve care, disease monitoring, planning and research. All requests for access to the data will be made through the NHSX Single Point of Contact for COVID-19 requests process, which will triage and prioritise requests with NHS Digital, Health Data Research UK and the National Institute of Health Research. Fill in the Access Request Form for GPES Data for Pandemic Planning and Research (COVID-19) and email it with your request to this address: [email protected]
NHS Digital will involve the BMA and RCGP in all requests before sharing any data, to consider the views of the profession. The scope and role of the Professional Advisory Group are included within the Terms of Reference. This group currently advises only on the release of GP Data for Pandemic Planning and Research. These Terms of Reference will be updated and extended to cover the GP Data for Planning and Research at the point when this data set is available for organisations to request.
Data which is shared by NHS Digital is subject to robust rules relating to privacy, security, and confidentiality. Safeguards built into our processes include:
- all requests will be managed through our Data Access Request Service
- applications for record level data will also be subject to independent scrutiny via the Independent Group Advising on the Release of Data (IGARD)
- only the minimum amount of data needed to meet the specific coronavirus purpose will be made available
- organisations using this data will need to have a clear legal basis to do so for coronavirus purposes
- national data opt-outs will be considered on a case by case basis but may not apply during the emergency period due to the public interest and legal requirements in sharing certain data. For example, in the case of the Shielded Patients List, the opt-out was not applied due to the public interest in those patients receiving advice and support
The data collection will continue until 30 September 2020 and will be reviewed before then. If there is a continued need for the data for coronavirus purposes it will continue with 6 monthly reviews until the expiry of the Direction, which is currently 31 March 2022.
We will publish information about the data that we share in our Data Release Register.
For more information about how NHS Digital is processing GP data to support the response to coronavirus, see our GPES COVID-19 transparency notice.