Covid-19 privacy notice

This notice describes how we may use your information to protect you and others during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

It supplements our main Privacy Notice for Patients. 

The health and social care system is facing significant pressures due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Health and care information is essential to deliver care to individuals, to support health and social care services and to protect public health.

Information will also be vital in researching, monitoring, tracking and managing the outbreak.

In the current emergency it has become even more important to share health and care information across relevant organisations. 

Existing law which allows confidential patient information to be used and shared appropriately and lawfully in a public health emergency is being used during this outbreak.

Using this law the Secretary of State has required these health organisations and GPs to share confidential patient information to respond to the  COVID-19 outbreak:

  • NHS Digital
  • NHS England and Improvement
  • Arms-length bodies (such as Public Health England)
  • Local authorities

Any information used or shared during the Covid-19 outbreak will be limited to the period of the outbreak unless there is another legal basis to use the data.

For further information, please see:

During this period of emergency, opt-outs will not generally apply to the data used to support the COVID-19 outbreak, due to the public interest in sharing information.

This includes national data opt-outs - please see the NHS website: Choose if data from your health records is shared for research and planning.

However, in relation to the Summary Care Record, existing choices will be respected.

Where data is used and shared under these laws your right to have personal data erased will also not apply.

In order to look after your health and care needs we may share your confidential patient information including health and care records with clinical and non-clinical staff in other health and care providers, for example neighbouring GP practices, hospitals and NHS 111.

We may also use the details we have to send public health messages to you, either by phone, text or email. 

During this period of emergency we may offer you a consultation via telephone or video- conferencing.

By accepting the invitation and entering the consultation you are consenting to this.

Your personal/confidential patient information will be safeguarded in the same way it would with any other consultation. 

We will also be required to share personal/confidential patient information with health and care organisations and other bodies engaged in disease surveillance for the purposes of protecting public health, providing healthcare services to the public and monitoring and managing the outbreak.

For further information about how health and care data is being used and shared by other NHS and social care organisations in a variety of ways to support the COVID-19 response, please see the NHSX website: How data is supporting the Covid-19 response.

NHS England and Improvement and NHSX have developed a single, secure store to gather data from across the health and care system to inform the COVID-19 response.

This includes data already collected by NHS England, NHS Improvement, Public Health England and NHS Digital. New data will include 999 call data, data about hospital occupancy and A&E capacity data as well as data provided by patients themselves - please see the NHS website: Tell the NHS about your current experience of coronavirus.

All the data held in the platform is subject to strict controls that meet the requirements of data protection legislation.

Data is also being shared with the local CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group) to assist the most vulnerable patients.

The data that is collected and used refers to patient data but may also include staff data in the event that a member of staff is confirmed or suspected of having the virus.

We have a duty to keep our patients and our staff safe.

To do this we will need to include some sharing of staff data so that we can protect individuals, manage the workforce and staffing levels, and also offer staff support as required.

In such circumstances where you tell us you're experiencing COVID-19 symptoms we may need to collect specific health data about you.

Where we need to do so, we will not collect more information than we require and we will ensure that any information collected is treated with the appropriate safeguards.

For key worker testing and how the data is used, please see the Department of Health and Social Care website: Testing for coronavirus: privacy information.

We may amend this privacy notice at any time, so please review it frequently.

Did this information help you?

  • Page last reviewed: 8 March 2023
  • Next review due: 8 March 2024