Information for GP practices

Summary

The national data opt-out has replaced type 2 opt outs. GP practices must no longer use the type 2 opt out code to record a patient's opt-out choice.

Type 2 opt-outs were those opt-outs which were recorded on the patient record to prevent NHS Digital sharing confidential patient information for research and planning. These were managed by the patient’s GP practice making a coded entry into the patients record. Existing type 2 opt-outs have been converted into the national data opt-out. 

Supporting patients - resources and guidance

We have provided resources for practice staff to share with patients if they have any questions. Staff should make sure they are aware of the new opt-out so they can support their patients. The Royal College of General Practitioners has published a Patient Data Choices toolkit for GPs and practice staff. 

For more information on the Patient Data Choices you can complete the RCGP e-learning module.

When patients ask about opting out:

  • refer them to the website nhs.uk/your-nhs-data-matters
  • make sure that they know their NHS number and have an up-to-date email address or mobile phone number in their GP practice record, as this will be used to verify their identity when they use the service

Patients who previously had a type 2 opt-out

Where patients previously had a type 2 opt out registered, this was automatically converted to a national data opt-out. Patients can be reassured that their choices will continue to be respected. If they want to change their choice, they can use the new service to do this.

Every patient who is now aged 13 or over with a type 2 opt-out recorded before 25 May 2018 will have received a personal letter explaining the change. The letters were issued after 29 May 2018 and included a handout which explained more about the national data opt-out. 

Patients who have a type 1 opt-out

Some patients will have a type 1 opt-out registered with their GP practice, which prevents their confidential patient information leaving the practice for research and planning purposes. These existing type 1 opt-outs will continue to be respected until 2020, when the Department of Health and Social Care will consult with the National Data Guardian on their removal. GP practices should continue to record patient choices and apply type 1 opt-outs.

Changes to policy and procedure

GP practices must amend policies and procedures, and patient information, to make sure that they are up to date, and that all staff know they should no longer record type 2 opt-outs on a patient’s medical records. Until the end of September 2018, GP practices were still able to set a type 2 opt-out if requested, but NHS Digital has been converting these to the national data opt-out. We will retire the type 2 codes for general practice from early October 2018. View our GP checklist for a full list of tasks to prepare for the national data opt-out.

Communication with GP practices

We sent a letter to all GP practices in May 2018, with more details about the national data opt-out and the transition from type 2 opt-outs.

We sent a letter to all GP practices in October 2018, as a reminder that type 2 objections are no longer valid