Covid-19 response transparency notice – Updated on 27th September 2020
The health and social care system is taking action to manage and mitigate the spread and impact of the current outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19).
Action to be taken requires the collection, analysis and sharing of information, including confidential patient information where necessary and lawful, amongst health organisations and other appropriate bodies. This is due to the urgent need to protect public health and respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. This notice describes how we may use your information to protect you and others during the COVID-19 outbreak.
To support the healthcare response to COVID-19, NHS Digital has been directed by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care (the Secretary of State) and NHS England under the COVID-19 Directions to:
- establish information systems to collect and analyse data in connection with COVID-19; and
- develop and operate IT systems to deliver services in connection with COVID-19
Examples of some of the purposes for which NHS Digital may process personal data under the COVID-19 Directions and in response to these requests may include processing personal data for the purposes of:
- understanding COVID-19 and risks to public health, trends in COVID-19 and such risks, and controlling and preventing the spread of COVID-19 and such risks
- identifying and understanding information about patients or potential patients with, or at risk of COVID-19, information about incidents of patient exposure to COVID-19 and the management of patients with or at risk of COVID-19 including: locating, contacting, screening, flagging and monitoring such patients and collecting information about and providing services in relation to testing, diagnosis, self-isolation, fitness to work, treatment, medical and social interventions and recovery from COVID-19
- understanding information about patient access to health services and adult social care services as a direct or indirect result of COVID-19, and the availability and capacity of those services
- monitoring and managing the response to COVID-19 by health and social care bodies and the Government including providing information to the public about COVID-19 and its effectiveness and information about capacity, medicines, equipment, supplies, services and the workforce within the health services and adult social care services
- delivering services to patients, clinicians, the health services and adult social care services workforce and the public about and in connection with COVID-19, including the provision of information, fit notes and the provision of health care and adult social care services
- research and planning in relation to COVID-19
At the present time we have been informed that NHS Digital will be collecting patient level data on a weekly basis in order to:
- identify patients who are clinically extremely vulnerable if they contract COVID-19
- identify patients who are at moderate or high risk of complications from flu or COVID-19
The GPES data extraction will identify all patients currently registered with a General
Practice who fall under the cohort count and 70 code clusters specified in the business rules (i.e. have particular conditions / medical history).
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- For each patient above, NHS Digital will require the following personal data, as well as the General Practice that individuals are registered with:
surname and forename
date of birth
date of death
Where a patient’s record contains a defined long-term medical condition, which poses a COVID-19 risk and/or a condition/code which identifies a patient as being of moderate or high risk of complications from flu/COVID-19, data will be extracted for:
• the associated SNOMED3 CT code(s) and date(s) for the: medical condition
o recorded activity for COVID-19 in the patient’s medical record
o drug treatment(s)
• any values such as scores or prescriptions associated with the SNOMED CT code(s).
The GPES data will be extracted on a weekly basis with the revised data collection due week commencing 28 September 2020. The extraction will then continue until the expiry of the COVID-19 Direction.
This is currently 31 March 2022 but will be reviewed in September 2020 and every six months thereafter. The frequency of the data collection may change in response to demand.
Covid-19 and your information – Updated on 17th June 2020 (Privacy note on Covid-19 for Patients)
This notice describes how we may use your information to protect you and others during the Covid-19 outbreak. It supplements our main Privacy Notice which is available.
The health and social care system is facing significant pressures due to the Covid-19 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.
Existing law which allows confidential patient information to be used and shared appropriately and lawfully in a public health emergency is being used during this outbreak.
Using this law the Secretary of State has required NHS Digital; NHS England and Improvement; Arms-Length Bodies (such as Public Health England); local authorities; health organisations and GPs to share confidential patient information to respond to the Covid-19 outbreak. Any information used or shared during the Covid-19 outbreak will be limited to the period of the outbreak unless there is another legal basis to use the data. Further information is available on gov.uk.
During this period of emergency, opt-outs will not generally apply to the data used to support the Covid-19 outbreak, due to the public interest in sharing information. This includes National Data Opt-outs. However in relation to the Summary Care Record, existing choices will be respected. Where data is used and shared under these laws your right to have personal data erased will also not apply. It may also take us longer to respond to Subject Access requests, Freedom of Information requests and new opt-out requests whilst we focus our efforts on responding to the outbreak.
In order to look after your health and care needs we may share your confidential patient information including health and care records with clinical and non-clinical staff in other health and care providers, for example neighbouring GP practices, hospitals and NHS 111.
We may also use the details we have to send public health messages to you, either by phone, text or email.
During this period of emergency we may offer you a consultation via telephone or videoconferencing.
By accepting the invitation and entering the consultation you are consenting to this. Your personal/confidential patient information will be safeguarded in the same way it would with any other consultation.
We will also be required to share personal/confidential patient information with health and care organisations and other bodies engaged in disease surveillance for the purposes of protecting public health, providing healthcare services to the public and monitoring and managing the outbreak. Further information about how health and care data is being used and shared by other NHS and social care organisations in a variety of ways to support the Covid-19 response is available on the NHS website.
NHS England and Improvement and NHSX have developed a single, secure store to gather data from across the health and care system to inform the Covid-19 response. This includes data already collected by NHS England, NHS Improvement, Public Health England and NHS Digital. New data will include 999 call data, data about hospital occupancy and A&E capacity data as well as data provided by patients themselves. All the data held in the platform is subject to strict controls that meet the requirements of data protection legislation.
In such circumstances where you tell us you’re experiencing Covid-19 symptoms we may need to collect specific health data about you. Where we need to do so, we will not collect more information than we require and we will ensure that any information collected is treated with the appropriate safeguards.
We may amend this privacy notice at any time so please review it frequently. The date at the top of this page will be amended each time this notice is updated.