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How sharing information in your medical records can help the NHS to provide better care

A new system has been developed in hope of increasing the use of information from your medical record held at the practice to share with other healthcare providers in hope of a improving health services.  It will be delivered by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) and NHS England on behalf of the NHS.

This new system will enable joined up information about care received from all aspects of the health service, including hospitals and GP practices.  This will then allow the NHS to have a complete overview of what is happening across many health and social care providers to plan much needed services according to what works best.

The HSCIC will retrieve your personal details such as your date of birth, your NHS Number and your full postcode, together with gender rather than your name link your records to a secure system.  Once this information has been linked a new record will be created. This new record will not contain information that identifies you. The type of information shared, and how it is shared, is controlled by law and strict confidentiality rules.

The new system will also provide information that allows the public to hold the NHS to account ensuring that unacceptable standards of care are identified as quickly as possible.  The information retrieved will help to :

  • find more effective ways of preventing, treating and managing illnesses
  • guide local decisions about changes that are needed to respond to the needs of local patients
  • support public health by anticipating risks of particular diseases and conditions, and help us to take action to prevent problems
  • improve the public’s understanding of the outcomes of care, giving them confidence in health and care services
  • guide decisions about how to manage NHS resources so that they can best support the treatment and management of illness for the benefit of patients

It is important that you read the leaflet How information about you helps us to provide better care (PDF, 344kb)  in order for you to fully understand how the information held on your medical record can be used to improve the way that healthcare is delivered.

If you are happy for your information to be used then you do not need to do anything. But if you have concerns you should talk to your GP.

If you do not want information that identifies you from being shared outside your GP practice, talk to a member of staff at your practice. A note of this will be made within your medical record. This will prevent your information being used other than where necessary by law, such as in case of a public health emergency. You will also be able to restrict the use of information held by other places you receive care from. However, this will not affect the care you receive.

You can change your mind at any time and as many times as you wish, just remember to advise your GP practice  in order for them to ensure your wishes are recorded within your medical record

For more information about how data is collected and shared, including confidentiality, read the Q&A below or download the FAQ for patients (PDF, 153kb) produced by the HSCIC and NHS England.


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