Your GP holds your health record, and it is used by them and other parts of the NHS for your direct care.

NHS Digital also uses some of this data for research, planning, and improving the NHS for everyone.

Some of your health data will be shared with NHS Digital and other NHS bodies in order to ensure your care, such as being referred to hospital or getting a prescription. It may also be used to deal with emergencies such as coronavirus.

You cannot opt-out of your data being used in this way.


The NHS shares some data, in which nobody can identify you, with trusted third parties, in order to improve the NHS for you and everyone else.

This includes with:

  • NHS planners
  • University researchers
  • Scientists researching medicines

We only share data when there is a proven benefit to the NHS, and access is strictly controlled.

As a patient, you can choose not to have your data shared with these third parties.

Your data wont be shared with: 

  • Your data is not shared for commercial purposes
  • Your data is not shared with insurers
  • Your data is not sold.


The national data opt-out was introduced on 25 May 2018, enabling patients to opt out from the use of their data for research or planning purposes, in line with the recommendations of the National Data Guardian in her Review of Data Security, Consent and Opt-Outs

You can view or change your national data opt-out choice at any time by using the online service at or by clicking on "Your Health" in the NHS App, and selecting "Choose if data from your health records is shared for research and planning".

Alternatively you can pick up an 'OPT-OUT' form from reception. 

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