Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and your information
The ICO recognises the unprecedented challenges the NHS and other health professionals are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The ICO also recognise that 'Public bodies may require additional collection and sharing of personal data to protect against serious threats to public health.'
The Government have also taken action in respect of this and on 20th March 2020 the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care issued a notice under Regulation 3(4) of the Health Service (Control of Patient Information) Regulations 2002 requiring organisations such as GP Practices to use your information to help GP Practices and other healthcare organisations to respond to and deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. Please note that this notice has now been revised and extended by a further notice from 29th July 2020 until 31st March 2021.
In order to look after your healthcare needs during this difficult time, we may urgently need to share your personal information, including medical records, with clinical and non clinical staff who belong to organisations that are permitted to use your information and need to use it to help deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. This could (amongst other measures) consist of either treating you or a member of your family and enable us and other healthcare organisations to monitor the disease, assess risk and manage the spread of the disease. Additionally, the use of your information is now required to support NHS Test and Trace.
Please be assured that we will only share information and health data that is necessary to meet yours and public healthcare needs.
The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has also stated that these measures are temporary and will expire on 31st March 2021 unless a further extension is required. Any further extension will be will be provided in writing and we will communicate the same to you.
Please also note that the data protection and electronic communication laws do not stop us from sending public health messages to you, either by phone, text or email as these messages are not direct marketing.
It may also be necessary, where the latest technology allows us to do so, to use your information and health data to facilitate digital consultations and diagnoses and we will always do this with your security in mind. If you are concerned about how your information is being used, please contact our DPO using the contact details provided in this Privacy Notice.
General Practice Transparency Notice for GPES Data for Pandemic Planning and Research (COVID-19)
This practice is supporting vital coronavirus (COVID-19) planning and research by sharing your data with NHS Digital.
The health and social care system is facing significant pressures due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Health and care information is essential to deliver care to individuals, to support health, social care and other public services and to protect public health. Information will also be vital in researching, monitoring, tracking and managing the coronavirus outbreak. In the current emergency it has become even more important to share health and care information across relevant organisations. This practice is supporting vital coronavirus planning and research by sharing your data with NHS Digital, the national safe haven for health and social care data in England.
Our legal basis for sharing data with NHS Digital
NHS Digital has been legally directed to collect and analyse patient data from all GP practices in England to support the coronavirus response for the duration of the outbreak. NHS Digital will become the controller under the General Data Protection Regulation 2016 (GDPR) of the personal data collected and analysed jointly with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, who has directed NHS Digital to collect and analyse this data under the COVID-19 Public Health Directions 2020 (COVID-19 Direction).
All GP practices in England are legally required to share data with NHS Digital for this purpose under the Health and Social Care Act 2012 (2012 Act). More information about this requirement is contained in the data provision notice issued by NHS Digital to GP practices.
Under GDPR our legal basis for sharing this personal data with NHS Digital is Article 6(1)(c) - legal obligation. Our legal basis for sharing personal data relating to health, is Article 9(2)(g) – substantial public interest, for the purposes of NHS Digital exercising its statutory functions under the COVID-19 Direction.
The type of personal data we are sharing with NHS Digital
The data being shared with NHS Digital will include information about patients who are currently registered with a GP practice or who have a date of death on or after 1 November 2019 whose record contains coded information relevant to coronavirus planning and research. The data contains NHS Number, postcode, address, surname, forename, sex, ethnicity, date of birth and date of death for those patients. It will also include coded health data which is held in your GP record such as details of:
- diagnoses and findings
- medications and other prescribed items
- investigations, tests and results
- treatments and outcomes
- vaccinations and immunisations
How NHS Digital will use and share your data
NHS Digital will analyse the data they collect and securely and lawfully share data with other appropriate organisations, including health and care organisations, bodies engaged in disease surveillance and research organisations for coronavirus response purposes only. These purposes include protecting public health, planning and providing health, social care and public services, identifying coronavirus trends and risks to public health, monitoring and managing the outbreak and carrying out of vital coronavirus research and clinical trials. The British Medical Association, the Royal College of General Practitioners and the National Data Guardian are all supportive of this initiative.
NHS Digital has various legal powers to share data for purposes relating to the coronavirus response. It is also required to share data in certain circumstances set out in the COVID-19 Direction and to share confidential patient information to support the response under a legal notice issued to it by the Secretary of State under the Health Service (Control of Patient Information) Regulations 2002 (COPI Regulations).
Legal notices under the COPI Regulations have also been issued to other health and social care organisations requiring those organisations to process and share confidential patient information to respond to the coronavirus outbreak. Any information used or shared during the outbreak under these legal notices or the COPI Regulations will be limited to the period of the outbreak unless there is another legal basis for organisations to continue to use the information.
Data which is shared by NHS Digital will be subject to robust rules relating to privacy, security and confidentiality and only the minimum amount of data necessary to achieve the coronavirus purpose will be shared. Organisations using your data will also need to have a clear legal basis to do so and will enter into a data sharing agreement with NHS Digital. Information about the data that NHS Digital shares, including who with and for what purpose will be published in the NHS Digital data release register.
For more information about how NHS Digital will use your data please see the NHS Digital Transparency Notice for GP Data for Pandemic Planning and Research (COVID-19).
National Data Opt-Out
The application of the National Data Opt-Out to information shared by NHS Digital will be considered on a case by case basis and may or may not apply depending on the specific purposes for which the data is to be used. This is because during this period of emergency, the National Data Opt-Out will not generally apply where data is used to support the coronavirus outbreak, due to the public interest and legal requirements to share information.
Your rights over your personal data
To read more about the health and care information NHS Digital collects, its legal basis for collecting this information and what choices and rights you have in relation to the processing by NHS Digital of your personal data, see:
- the NHS Digital GPES Data for Pandemic Planning and Research (COVID-19) Transparency Notice
- the NHS Digital Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response Transparency Notice
- the NHS Digital General Transparency Notice
- how NHS Digital looks after your health and care information
Last edited: 14 May 2020 2:10 pm
SCR coronavirus (COVID-19) supplementary privacy notice - NHS Digital
Your information and responding to coronavirus (COVID-19)
The health and social care system is facing significant pressures due to the coronavirus outbreak. Health and care information is essential to deliver care to individuals, to support health and social care services and to protect public health. Information will also be vital in researching, monitoring, tracking and managing the outbreak. In the current emergency, it has become even more important to share health and care information across relevant organisations.
This notice describes how GPs and other health and social care organisations may use your information within the health and social care system to protect you and others during the Coranavirus (COVID-19) outbreak with regard to your Summary Care Record.