Guidance for health and care staff


Guidance, factsheets and policy documentation on the national data opt-out.

NHS factsheets for health and care staff

We have produced a series of factsheets about data uses and the national data opt-out, which is being presented to the public as 'Your data matters to the NHS'.

Factsheet 1A – Data use and patient choice

This factsheet provides information on how data is used by health and care organisations and why it is provided to other organisations.

Factsheet 1B – Types of data used and legal protection in place

This factsheet sets out what types of data are used and the legal protections in place.

Factsheet 2 – When the national data opt-out applies

This factsheet provides the criteria and supporting information to understand when a national data opt-out does or does not apply.

Factsheet 3 – What data and organisations the national data opt-out applies to

This factsheet sets out what data and organisations the national data opt-out will apply to.

Factsheet 4 – How the national data opt-out is applied

This factsheet provides the rules to understand how the national data opt-out is applied.

Factsheet 5 – Setting a national data opt-out

This factsheet provides guidance on who can set a national data opt-out and how it applies when other opt-outs exist.

Factsheet 6 – How the national data opt-out fits with data protection legislation

This factsheet sets out how the national data opt-out sits alongside data protection legislation

Checklists: be ready for the national data opt-out

We've put together these readiness checklists, to help you prepare for the changes.

Readiness checklist - GP practices

Readiness checklist -  other organisations

Webinars on the National Data Opt-out

We have recorded  webinars with experts from national data opt-out programme who have provided updates from each workstream. 

National Data Opt-out webinar: background and setting service 

National Data Opt-out webinar: Policy overview 

National Data Opt-out webinar: communications

National Data Opt-out webinar: organisational support 

National Data Opt-out webinar: technical - upholding solution 

National Data Opt-out webinar: next steps and further information 

You can also view our Implementation team - Organisational Readiness Webinar slides.

Guidance for nursing, midwifery and care staff

These resources are designed to help nursing, midwifery and care staff support their patients. Nursing, midwifery and care staff have a key role in helping individuals understand the importance of information so that they can always be supported to make an informed choice about how confidential patient information is used for research and planning.

Pocket guide for nursing, midwifery and care staff

Prompt card for nursing, midwifery and care staff

Guidance for detained estates staff

For patients in detained estate settings (who are not able to use the online or telephone channels to record their choice), a specific non-digital form is currently being tested to enable the healthcare services to collect and process their request for a national data opt-out. More information will be provided along with the forms once the testing has been completed. 

In the meantime, type 2 objections can continue to be recorded in the patient’s record within the SystmOne prison module, using the following code: 





‘Dissent from disclosure of personal confidential data by Health and Social Care Information Centre’

Where type 2 objections data is collected and submitted to NHS Digital, we will continue to respect the patient’s choice to not share confidential patient information beyond NHS Digital for research and planning, but their choice will be recorded as a national data opt-out rather than a type 2 objection. 

Type 2 objections recorded prior to 25 May 2018

All detained estate healthcare services that have submitted type 2 objections collection data to NHS Digital can be assured that their patients’ objections have been automatically changed to the new national data opt-out.

Guidance for helpline staff

Guidance for helplines

Helplines are highly effective at engaging with, and providing support to people who may find it challenging to access mainstream healthcare provision. As the changes to patient choices roll out, some of the people who contact helplines may wish to discuss these changes, perhaps within a wider conversation. This printable guide explains the national data opt-out in more detail, and provides information for call handlers on where to signpost callers for more information.

Guidance for voluntary sector staff

Guidance for the voluntary sector

We know that local patient groups, voluntary sector organisations, faith groups and other local forums are well placed to have conversations with their members and networks, including about sharing of health and care information. This printable guide is designed to inform voluntary and community sector partners about the national data opt-out. We hope it gives you the information you need to respond to queries and so you can support your members and networks to make an informed choice about what happens to their data.

National data opt-out operational guidance policy

National data opt-out operational guidance policy document

This policy document provides the legal definitions and policy behind the national data opt-out.

National data opt-out equality impact assessment

National data opt-out equality impact assessment document

This document presents the findings of the EIA as the national data opt-out service launches in a public beta testing phase. It describes the research and engagement that has been conducted, the impacts that have been identified and the mitigating actions that have been put into place and which will also be delivered through ongoing and future work as the service continues to be developed. This EIA will, therefore, continue to be updated as we seek continual user feedback on the service over the next few months, so that any new impacts are identified as the service moves from a public beta phase to a fully operational service in October 2018.

National data opt-out data protection impact assessment

National data opt-out data protection impact assessment document

As part of the development of the national data opt-out, we have undertaken a data protection impact assessment (DPIA). The DPIA is a process to systematically analyse, identify and minimise the data protection risks associated with a new project or service. The DPIA for the national data opt-out reflects the specific privacy risks and impacts of the national data opt-out. NHS Digital is continuing to develop its approach for DPIAs and others may vary in terms of the format and templates used. This DPIA covers the service launched for public beta and will be updated when there are significant changes.