How data in your GP record is used and how you can control the use (opt-out)
You have the right to opt-out at any time from data being shared.
Your data is used in broadly two different ways:
- To provide you with care. This is called “Primary Use“
- To allow for planning and research to be done. This is called “Secondary Use“
Both uses will only be made where it is considered secure and appropriate to use patient data.
Opting-out of data sharing is an option for all patients, however it is not without potential downsides. For Primary Use data, if you opt-out and need care in a local hospital, for example, it may be much harder for the staff to access important medical information about you needed to provide safe and effective care. For Secondary Use, the downsides are more indirect. If everyone in the country were to opt-out, it would make it much harder to ensure funding is used in the NHS to develop services where they are needed. It would also be harder to develop new treatments.
It is possible to opt-out of specific parts of data sharing, while keeping some elements of data sharing in place. It is very common, for example, for people who have privacy concerns about Secondary Use, to be happy to continue sharing data for Primary Use/Direct Care.
To summarise visually what opt-outs are possible, please see the diagram below:
Data Use/Opt Out
How to Opt-Out
- Type 1 Opt-out – to apply this opt-out, please send Opt-Out Form to the practice by emailing to firstname.lastname@example.org
- National Data Opt-out – Visit the NHS Website or use the NHS App
- & 4. Primary Use Opt-out – If you wish to opt out of Primary Use data sharing please complete a Primary Use Opt-Out Form and return it to your surgery