General Practice Data for Planning and Research

Posted on

NHS Digital recently announced some changes to the way they collect data from GP surgeries to help them plan services, research potential new treatments and improve outcomes for patients.

Data from GP surgeries is already collected to help ensure the treatment you receive is safe and effective, as well as helping the NHS to improve health and care services for everyone by:

  • Monitoring the long-term safety and effectiveness of care
  • Planning how to deliver better health and care services
  • Preventing the spread of infectious diseases
  • Identifying new treatment and medicines through health research.

Data from GP surgeries is already shared for these purposes (where a patient hasn’t opted out). Now, NHS Digital has developed a new way to collect this data, called the General Practice Data for Planning and Research data collection. It is hoped that the new approach to data collection will be more efficient and effective.

Any data about you will NOT include your name or where you live, while other data that could identify you will be replaced by unique codes. 

As we have seen consistently throughout the pandemic, planning and research is integral to the long-term success of the whole of the NHS. Research using patient information enabled clinical trials in the UK of treatment for Covid-19 as well as vaccines, saving an incalculable number of lives in this country and around the world.

Contributing to research projects will benefit us all as better and safer treatments are introduced more quickly and effectively without compromising your privacy and confidentiality.

The potential benefits of researchers having access to population-wide health data include:

  • Better prevention of a range of conditions
  • Better patient care
  • New drugs for health conditions
  • Better diagnostics
  • Faster clinical trials
  • Better treatments – such as surgery or different therapies
  • New artificial intelligence solutions to accelerate understanding of diseases

Click links to see more information about the General Practice Data for Planning and Research data collection: 

To help you make an informed decision we strongly advise you to read the information available on:

If you don’t want your identifiable patient data to be shared for purposes except for your own care, you can opt-out by registering a Type 1 Opt-out or a National Data Opt-out, or both. These opt-outs are different and they are explained in more detail below. Your individual care will not be affected if you opt-out using either option.

Type 1 Opt-out (opting out of NHS Digital collecting your data)

Data will not be collected from GP practices about patients who have registered a Type 1 Opt-out with their practice. More information about Type 1 Opt-outs is in NHS Digital’s GP Data for Planning and Research Transparency Notice, including a form that you can complete and send to your GP practice.

This collection will start on 1 September 2021 so if you do not want your data to be shared with NHS Digital please register your Type 1 Opt-out with your GP practice.

If you register a Type 1 Opt-out after this collection has started, no more of your data will be shared with NHS digital. They will however still hold the patient data which was shared with before you registered the Type 1 Opt-out.

If you do not want NHS Digital to share your identifiable patient data with anyone else for purposes beyond your own care, then you can also register a National Data Opt-out.

National Data Opt-out (opting out of NHS Digital sharing your data)

We will collect data from GP medical records about patients who have registered a National Data Opt-out. The National Data Opt-out applies to identifiable patient data about your health, which is called confidential patient information.

NHS Digital won’t share any confidential patient information about you – this includes GP data, or other data we hold, such as hospital data – with other organisations, unless there is an exemption to this.

To find out more information and how to register a National Data Opt-Out, please read our GP Data for Planning and Research Transparency Notice.