Confidential patient information is when 2 types of information from your health records are joined together.
The 2 types of information are:
- something that can identify you;
- something about your health care or treatment.
Identifiable information on its own is used by health and care services to contact patients and this is not confidential patient information.
There are two different opt-out types which both refer to information sharing for purposes other than that of direct patient care.
Type 1 opt-out: Applies to Medical Records held at your GP practice
You can tell your GP practice if you do not want your confidential patient information held in your GP medical record to be used for purposes other than your individual care. This is commonly called a type 1 opt-out. This opt-out request can only be recorded by your GP practice.
National data opt-out: Applies across the Health and Care System in England
Information about you can also be used and provided to other organisations for purposes beyond your individual care, for research and planning to help provide better health and care for you, your family and future generations. This may only take place when there is a clear legal basis to use this information.
Most of the time, anonymised data is used for research and planning so that you cannot be identified in which case your confidential patient information isn’t needed.
You have a choice about whether you want your confidential patient information to be used in this way. If you are happy with this use of information you do not need to do anything. If you do choose to opt out, your confidential patient information will still be used to support your individual care.
To find out more or to register your choice to opt out, please visit www.nhs.uk/your-nhs-data-matters. You can also find out more about how patient information is used at: https://www.hra.nhs.uk/information-about-patients/ (which covers health and care research); and https://understandingpatientdata.org.uk/what-you-need-know (which covers how and why patient information is used, the safeguards and how decisions are made). You can change your mind about your choice at any time.
NHS Digital monitors the number of patients applying their opt-out rights through aggregated data sources. Whilst patients have the right to opt out of having their data shared for purposes other than direct patient care, sharing data allows the NHS to better understand the needs of patients. It also allows for more comprehensive performance monitoring of services and allows organisations to adequately benchmark themselves. This allows care providers and commissioners to work collaboratively to improve the quality of, and accessibility to local services.
Health and care organisations have until March 2020 to put systems and processes in place so they can be compliant with the National Data Opt-Out Policy and apply your choice to any confidential patient information they use or share for purposes beyond your individual care. Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG is currently working towards compliance with the Policy.
 See Appendix B ‘Key Definitions’ – NHS Digital
 See Appendix B ‘Key Definitions’ - Aggregated Data