Following its introduction in May 2018 and several subsequent delays, the National Data Opt-Out went live on 31st July 2022. Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust (‘NGH’, ‘the Trust’) are compliant with the National Data Opt-Out.
What is the national data opt-out?
The aim of the data opt-out is to give patients and the public more control over how their information is used. The opt-out provides individuals with the right to request that their data is not used for research and planning purposes. Individuals can choose to stop their confidential patient information being used for research and planning. They can also make a choice for someone else, for example, children under the age of 13.
How are opt-outs recorded?
Opt-out preferences are recorded via the NHS ‘Your Data Matters’ website. NGH are not able to record preferences in relation to the National Data Opt-Out.
Opt-out preferences apply to the health and care system in England. They do not apply to health and care services accessed in Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland. Individuals can view their opt-out status using the link above or by phoning the NHS Digital Contact Centre.
The phone number is 0300 303 5678 – Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm (excluding bank holidays).
How has compliance with the National Data Opt-Out been achieved at NGH?
For teams that use patient information for research and planning purposes, there is now a requirement to check the data opt-out status of patients before using this information.
Where patients have chosen to opt-out, their data will not be used. A National Data Opt-Out policy has been developed and made available to all staff. The National Data Opt-Out predominantly impacts the Trust’s Research and Innovation Teams, Clinical Audit Teams and teams that submit data for audit, research and planning purposes.
How do NGH know when the opt-out applies?
Details about the application of the opt-out preference are available in the National Data Opt-Out policy for the Trust. Some research and audits are granted exemptions which mean that the National Data Opt-Out does not apply to them.
This is managed by the Confidentiality Advisory Group. The Confidentiality Advisory Group (CAG) is an independent body which provides expert advice on the use of confidential patient information. The key purpose of CAG is to protect and promote the interests of patients and the public, while at the same time facilitating appropriate use of confidential patient information for purposes beyond direct patient care.
Registers of approvals can be found on their website, here:
The Health Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP) also publish a useful directory which includes high-level information about the National Clinical Audit and Patient Outcomes Programme (NCAPOP) and additional projects commissioned by HQIP, plus national quality improvement projects operated by other organisations.
Can individuals opt-out of information being used for care and treatment?
No, The national data opt-out policy does not apply where information is being used or shared for an individual patient's care.
It only applies to use or disclosure of data for purposes beyond individual care such as research and planning. How does NGH know who has opted out?
Information about opt-out preferences is held centrally by NHS Digital. Opt-out preferences for our patients will be extracted from NHS Digital systems by the Trust’s Health Intelligence Team.
This information will be updated daily and will be made available in a report to allow this to be cross checked against other datasets.
Where can I find more information?
There is lots of information available on the NHS websites here:
Information in different languages and formats can be accessed via the NHS website, here:
If you have any further questions, you can contact: Data Security and Protection Team: firstname.lastname@example.org.