Covid-19 Data and Privacy Update
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
COVID-19 Privacy Notice
(This Privacy Notice is to run alongside our standard Practice Privacy Notice)
Due to the unprecedented challenges that the NHS and we, Sutterton Surgery face due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, there is a greater need for public bodies to require additional collection and sharing of personal data to protect against serious threats to public health.
In order to look after your healthcare needs in the most efficient way we, Sutterton Surgery may therefore need to share your personal information, including medical records, with staff from other GP Practices including Practices within our Primary Care Network, as well as other health organisations (i.e. Clinical Commissioning Groups, Commissioning Support Units, Local authorities etc.) and bodies engaged in disease surveillance for the purposes of research, protecting public health, providing healthcare services to the public and monitoring and managing the Covid-19 outbreak and incidents of exposure.
The Secretary of State has served notice under Regulation 3(4) of the Health Service (Control of Patient Information) Regulations 2002 (COPI) to require organisations to process confidential patient information in the manner set out below for purposes set out in Regulation 3(1) of COPI.
Purpose of this Notice
The purpose of this Notice is to require organisations such as Sutterton Surgery to process confidential patient information for the purposes set out in Regulation 3(1) of COPI to support the Secretary of State’s response to Covid-19 (Covid-19 Purpose). “Processing” for these purposes is defined in Regulation 3(2) and includes dissemination of confidential patient information to persons and organisations permitted to process confidential patient information under Regulation 3(3) of COPI. This Notice is necessary to require organisations such as Sutterton Surgery to lawfully and efficiently process confidential patient information as set out in Regulation 3(2) of COPI for purposes defined in regulation 3(1), for the purposes of research, protecting public health, providing healthcare services to the public and monitoring and managing the Covid-19 outbreak and incidents of exposure.
Requirement to Process Confidential Patient Information
The Secretary of State has served notice to recipients under Regulation 3(4) that requires Sutterton Surgery to process confidential patient information, including disseminating to a person or organisation permitted to process confidential patient information under Regulation 3(3) of COPI.
Sutterton Surgery is only required to process such confidential patient information:
- where the confidential patient information to be processed is required for a Covid-19 Purpose and will be processed solely for that Covid-19 Purpose in accordance with Regulation 7 of COPI
- from 20th March 2020 until 30th September 2020.
A Covid-19 Purpose includes but is not limited to the following:
- 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 and the need for wider care of patients and vulnerable groups as a direct or indirect result of Covid-19 and the availability and capacity of those services or that care
- 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.
Recording of processing
A record will be kept by Sutterton Surgery of all data processed under this Notice.
Sending Public Health Messages
Data protection and electronic communication laws will not stop Sutterton Surgery 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 Sutterton Surgery 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.
Research and Pandemic Planning
The Secretary of State has directed NHS Digital to collect, process and analyse data in connection with COVID-19 to support the Secretary of State’s response to COVID-19 and support various COVID-19 purposes set out in the COVID-19 Public Health Directions 2020, 17 March 2020 (as amended) (COVID-19 Direction) and below. This enables NHS Digital to collect data and analyse and link the data for COVID-19 purposes with other data held by NHS Digital.
The purpose of the data collection is also to respond to the intense demand for General Practice data to be shared in support of vital planning and research for COVID-19 purposes, including under the general legal notice issued by the Secretary of State under Regulation 3(4) of the Health Service (Control of Patient Information) Regulations 2002 (COPI).
NHS Digital has therefore been requested by the joint co-chairs of the Joint GP IT Committee (JGPITC) (the BMA and RCGP) to provide a tactical solution during the period of the COVID-19 pandemic to meet this demand and to relieve the growing burden and responsibility on General Practices. On 15 April 2020 the BMA and RCGP therefore gave their support via JGPITC to NHS Digital’s proposal to use the General Practice Extraction Service (GPES) to deliver a data collection from General Practices, at scale and pace, as a tactical solution to support the COVID-19 response in the pandemic emergency period.
It is a requirement of the JGPITC that all requests by organisations to access and use this data will need to be made via the NHSX SPOC COVID-19 request process, that will triage and prioritise these requests and refer appropriate requests on to the NHS Digital Data Access Request Service (DARS). NHS Digital will consult with representatives of the BMA and the RCGP on all requests for access to the data. An outline of the process for this agreed with the BMA and the RCGP is published here. Requests by organisations to access record level data from this collection will also be subject to Independent Group Advising on the Release of Data (IGARD) consideration. Data applicants will need to demonstrate they have a lawful basis to access the data for COVID-19 purposes.
Benefits of this sharing
Organisations, including the Government, health and social care organisations and researchers need access to this vital data for a range of COVID-19 purposes, to help plan, monitor and manage the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which will help save lives. COVID-19 purposes for which this data may be analysed and used may include:
- 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 COVID19
- 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; and
- research and planning in relation to COVID-19.
- Where it is necessary for us to collect information and specific health data about visitors to our practice, we will not collect more information than we need, and we will ensure that any information collected is treated with the appropriate safeguards.
- We have an obligation to protect our staff and employees’ health, so it is reasonable for staff at Sutterton Surgery to ask any visitors to our practice to tell us if they have visited a particular country, or are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. This must only be in pre-approved circumstances and we would also ask all patients to consider government advice on the NHS 111 website and not attend the practice.
- Visitors to The Practice
- This information is required by NHS Digital under section 259(1)(a) of the 2012 Act to comply with the COVID-19 Direction. In line with section 259(5) of the 2012 Act, all organisations in England that are within the scope of this Notice, as identified below under Health and Social Care Bodies within the scope of the collection, must comply with the requirement and provide information to NHS Digital in the form, manner and for the period specified in this Notice. This Notice is issued in accordance with the procedure published as part of NHS Digital’s duty under section 259(8) of the 2012 Act.
- Details of the information to be collected can be found on the NHS Digital website – Specification of this DPN. Type 1 objections will be upheld in collecting this data from General Practices and therefore the data for those patients who have registered a Type 1 objection with their GP will not be collected. The Type 1 objection prevents an individual’s personal identifiable confidential information from being shared outside of their GP Practice except when it is being used for the purposes of their direct care. The National Data Opt-Out will not apply to the collection of the data, as this is a collection which is required by law.
- NHS Digital has been directed by the Secretary of State under section 254 of the 2012 Act under the COVID-19 Direction to establish and operate a system for the collection and analysis of the information specified for this service: GPES Data for Pandemic Planning and Research (COVID-19). A copy of the COVID-19 Direction is published here: https://digital.nhs.uk//about-nhs-digital/corporate-information-and-documents/directions-anddata-provision-notices/secretary-of-state-directions/covid-19-public-health-directions-2020.
- Legal Basis for this collection
- Data will be collected nationally from all GP Practices by NHS Digital every fortnight. All requests to access this data will be triaged through the NHSX SPOC COVID-19 request process and assessed and fulfilled by NHS Digital through DARS. This will significantly reduce the burden on General Practice at a time when demand on resources is high, enabling General Practice to focus on delivering health care and support to patients. It will also reduce compliance burden and risk for General Practice associated with sharing data and complying with the terms of the general legal notice issued under COPI, which applies to General Practices.
- Data may be analysed and linked to other data held by NHS Digital or held by other organisations to which access to the data is granted for COVID-19 purposes, through the process described above.
Review and Expiry of this Notice
This Notice will be reviewed on or before 30 September 2020 and may be extended by The Secretary of State. If no further notice is sent to Sutterton Surgery by The Secretary of State this Notice will expire on 30 September 2020.