Your Data Matters to the NHS

The data held in the GP medical records of patients is used every day to support health and care planning and research in England, helping to find better treatments and improve patient outcomes for everyone. NHS Digital has developed a new way to collect this data, called the General Practice Data for Planning and Research data collection.

NHS Digital is the national custodian for health and care data in England and has responsibility for standardising, collecting, analysing, publishing and sharing data and information from across the health and social care system, including general practice.

NHS Digital previously collected patient data from general practices using a service called the General Practice Extraction Service (GPES), which has operated for over 10 years and now needs to be replaced.

The new system (GPDPR) was due to start collections on 1st July 2021, however, with intervention from the BMA this has now been delayed until 1st September 2021 to allow for a proper in-depth public information campaign to give the public a chance to make an informed decision about whether they want their data collected as part of the new GP data extraction programme.

Opting Out

You can opt-out by registering a Type 1 Opt-Out or a National Data Opt-Out or both. These opt-outs are different, and they are explained in more details on the Data page within the NHS Digital website. Your individual care will not be affected if you opt-out using either option.

You can also request an Opt-out Form from your surgery which, once completed, should be returned to the Admin Department for processing.

The web address for patients to opt out or in directly is Make your choice about sharing data from your health records – NHS ( Those without internet access can call 0300 303 5678 Monday-Friday, 9am to 5pm excluding bank holidays.

NHS Digital will collect:

  • Data about diagnoses, symptoms, observations, test results, medications.
    allergies. Immunisations, referrals, recalls and appointments, including
    information about physical, mental and sexual health.
  • Data on sex, ethinicity and sexual orientation.
  • Data about the staff who have treated patient.

NHS Digital does not collect:

  • Name and address (except for post code, protected in a unique coded form).
  • Written notes (free text), such as the details of conversations with doctors and nurses.
  • Images, letters and documents.
  • Coded data that is not needed due to its age, ie medication, referral and appointment data that is over 10 years old.
  • Coded data that GPs are not permitted to share by law – for example, certain codes about IVF treatment, and certain information about gender re- assignment.