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Coronavirus (COVID-19) privacy notice

Coronavirus (COVID-19) and your information

Published on 20 April 2020.

This notice describes how we may use your information to protect you and others during the coronavirus outbreak. It supplements our main privacy notice.

The health and social care system is facing significant pressures due to the coronavirus outbreak. Health and social care information is essential to deliver care to individuals, to support health and social care services and to protect public health. Information will also play a vital part in researching, monitoring, tracking and managing the outbreak. In the current emergency it has become even more important to share health and social care information across relevant organisations.

Existing law which allows confidential patient information to be used and shared appropriately and lawfully during a public health emergency, is being implemented during this outbreak. Using this law, the Secretary of State has required the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) and the following organisations to share confidential patient information to respond to the coronavirus outbreak:

  • NHS Digital
  • NHS England and NHS Improvement
  • NHSX
  • Public Health England
  • local authorities
  • health organisations
  • GPs
  • dentists

Sharing your personal information

Any information used or shared will be limited to the period of the outbreak unless there is another legal basis to use the data. More information is available on GOV.UK and some FAQs on this law are available from NHSX.

We are also collecting additional information about NHS patients who telephone their NHS dentist during the coronavirus outbreak. Further details are available from our NHS Dental Services privacy notice.

The NHSBSA continues to use and share prescription patient data to understand patterns and trends that will be used to plan and make improvements to NHS services and direct patient care. This is detailed in our NHS Prescriptions Services privacy notice and is currently focused on supporting the NHS response to the coronavirus outbreak.

We are also providing new services to support NHS England and NHS Improvement, Public Health England and the Department of Health and Social Care in response to the coronavirus outbreak. These are shown in their privacy notices as we act on their behalf in providing these services. To see the new services we are working on, visit our news website.

During this emergency period, opt-outs will not generally apply to the data used to support the coronavirus outbreak, as sharing information is in the public interest. This includes National Data Opt-outs.

It may also take us longer to respond to Subject Access requests and Freedom of Information requests whilst we focus our efforts on responding to the outbreak.

We may amend this privacy notice at any time so please review it frequently. The date on this page will be changed each time this notice is updated.