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New way patients can opt out of sharing their patient data from 25 May 2018

The NHS has introduced a new tool that people can use to opt out of their confidential patient information being used for reasons other than their individual care and treatment. It will be secure and accessible, and will be available from 25 May 2018.

The national data opt-out
NHS Digital is developing a new system to support the national data opt-out which will give patients more control over how identifiable health and care information is used. The system will offer patients and the public the opportunity to make an informed choice about whether they wish their personally identifiable data to be used just for their individual care and treatment or also used for research and planning purposes.

Choosing to opt-out
Patients and the public who decide they do not want their personally identifiable data used for planning and research purposes will be able to set their national data opt-out choice online. A non-digital alternative will be provided for patients and the public who can't or don't want to use an online system. Individuals can change their mind anytime. Existing Type 2 opt-outs (the option for a patient to register with their GP, to prevent their identifiable data leaving NHS Digital) will be converted to the new national data opt-out. Patients with type 2 opt-outs will be informed of this change individually.

Timescales
NHS Digital is developing the system now. Patients and the public will be able to use the system from 25 May 2018. All health and care organisations will be required to uphold patient and public choices by March 2020. The national data opt-out will be introduced alongside the new data protection legislation.

Further information is available on these websites:

If you need medical help and are unsure what to do, call NHS 111 for help and advice. They are available 24 hours a day.