General Practice Data for Planning and Research (Data Opt Outs)

Find out more about the current data opt out situation

Dear Patients,

We have had several enquiries over the past week asking us how data is shared to enable our patients to make informed decisions. This topic has been highlighted in many media outlets and therefore we felt it prudent to try and offer you an explanation in order that you can make an informed decision.

This programme is run nationally by NHS Digital and they are the custodians for Health and Care Data in England. They have a responsibility for standardising, collecting, analysing and sharing data and information across the whole healthcare sector including Old Mill & Millgates Medical Practice.

Patient Data is required to improve Healthcare services through planning and research in England, helping to find better treatments and improve patient care. It helps to decide what new health and care services are required in a local area, inform clinical guidance and policy, and supports researching and developing cures for serious illnesses, such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
Patient data has been collected GP Practices using a service called the General Practice Extraction Service (GPES). This system is over 10 years old and now needs to be replaced.

NHS Digital has developed a new way to collect this data called the General Practice Data for Planning and Research data collection (GPDPR). They have engaged with the British Medical Association (BMA), Royal College of GP’s (RCGP) and the National Data Guardian (NDG) to ensure the relevant safeguards are in place for patients and GP Practices.

NHS Digital will not collect patients’ names or exactly where they live. Any other data that could directly identify someone, for example, their NHS number, full postcode and date of birth, is pseudonymised before it leaves their GP Practice. This means that this data is replaced with unique codes so patients cannot be directly identified in the data which is shared NHS Digital. The data is also securely encrypted.

NHS Digital would only ever re-identify the data if there was a lawful reason to do so and it would need to be compliant with data protection law. For example, a patient may have agreed to take part in a research project or clinical trial and has already provided consent to their data being shared with the researchers for this purpose.

Full details of the General Practice Data for Planning and Research (GPDPR) scheme can be found by visiting

If you don’t want your identifiable patient data to be shared for purposes except for your own care, 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 detail below. Your individual care will not be affected if you opt out using either option.

For more information, please view the following websites:

Opt Out 1

This will prevent your data being collected from your GP record by NHS Digital and we request that you complete the form here and return to us so we can action your medical records with a code which will prevent your data being released to NHS Digital. Should you wish to change your mind you can always request to opt back in.

To register your type 1 opt out preferences, please download and return this form to the practice.

Opt Out 2

This is an opt out you will need to complete if you do not wish for any confidential healthcare data collected from all healthcare providers to be shared with other organisations for research and planning unless there is an exemption to this. This opt out is known as the ‘National Opt Out’. More details on this opt out and how to record an opt out 2 is available by visiting Your preferences can be recorded online or via the telephone. The number is 0300 303 5678. The lines are open Monday to Friday 09:00 to 17:00.

Please do not contact the Practice to record opt out 2.