NHS Digital will not collect patients’ names or addresses
Any other data that could directly identify patients (such as NHS Number, date of birth, full postcode) is replaced with unique codes which are produced by de-identification software before the data is shared with NHS Digital.
This process is called pseudonymisation and means that patients will not be identified directly in the data. NHS Digital will be able to use the software to convert the unique codes back to data that could directly identify patients in certain circumstances, and where there is a valid legal reason.
We will collect structured and coded data from patient medical records.
NHS Digital will collect:
- data about diagnoses, symptoms, observations, test results, medications, allergies, immunisations, referrals, recalls and appointments, including information about physical, mental and sexual health.
- data on sex, ethnicity, and sexual orientation.
- data about staff who have treated patients.
NHS Digital does not collect:
- name and address (except for postcode, protected in a unique coded form).
- written notes (free text), such as the details of conversations with doctors and nurses.
- images, letters, and documents.
- coded data that is not needed due to its age - for example medication, referral and appointment data that is over 10 years old.
- coded data that GPs are not permitted to share by law - for example certain codes about IVF treatment, and certain information about gender re-assignment.
NHS Digital also have a very short YouTube video for patients to watch called “How the NHS uses your patient data from GP Practices
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