Confidential information from your medical records can be used to improve the way the NHS delivers care to all patients. A modern information system has been developed by the NHS in England, which will make increased use of this information. This system is referred to as care.data.
One of the main aims of the new system is to allow the NHS to make better use of the routine information collected when you visit your GP practice. This information along with your postcode and NHS number but not your name, are sent to a secure system where it can be linked with other health information from all the different places where you receive care. This allows those planning NHS services or carrying out medical research to use information from different parts of the NHS in a way which does not identify you. The system complies with strict confidentiality rules and the law.
As a patient you have the right to prevent confidential information about you from being shared or used for any purpose other than providing your care, except in special circumstances. If you do not want information that identifies you to be shared outside your practice or if you want to restrict the use of information held by other places you receive care, such as hospitals and community services you should let your GP practice know.
A ''How information about you helps us to provide better care'' leaflet and a set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) are available to download at www.nhs.uk/caredata.