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National Data Opt Out

Privacy Notice

How we use your information

Staffordshire County Council is one of many organisations working in the health and care system to improve care for patients and the public.  

Whenever you use a health or care service, such as attending Accident & Emergency or using Community Care services, important information about you is collected in a patient record for that service. Collecting this information helps to ensure you get the best possible care and treatment.

The information collected about you when you use these services can also be used and provided to other organisations for purposes beyond your individual care, for instance to help with:

  • Improving the quality and standards of care provided
  • Research into the development of new treatments
  • Preventing illness and diseases
  • Monitoring safety
  • Planning services

This may only take place when there is a clear legal basis to use this information. All these secondary uses help to provide better health and care for you, your family and future generations. Confidential patient information about your health and care is only used like this where allowed by law. 

Most of the time, anonymised data is used for research and planning so that you cannot be identified in which case your confidential patient information isn’t needed.

You have a choice about whether you want your confidential patient information to be used in this way. If you are happy with this use of information you do not need to do anything. If you do choose to opt out your confidential patient information will still be used to support your individual care.

To find out more or to register your choice to opt out, please visit your NHS data matters. On this web page you will:

  • See what is meant by confidential patient information
  • Find examples of when confidential patient information is used for individual care and examples of when it is used for purposes beyond individual care
  • Find out more about the benefits of sharing data
  • Understand more about who uses the data
  • Find out how your data is protected
  • Be able to access the system to view, set or change your opt-out setting
  • Find the contact telephone number if you want to know any more or to set/change your opt-out by phone 
  • See the situations where the opt-out will not apply

You can also find out more about how patient information is used on the NHS website which covers health and care research and the Understanding Patient Data website which covers how and why patient information is used, the safeguards and how decisions are made.

You can change your mind about your choice at any time.

Data being used or shared for purposes beyond individual care does not include your data being shared with insurance companies or used for marketing purposes and data would only be used in this way with your specific agreement.

Health and care organisations have until 31 July 2022 to put systems and processes in place so they can be compliant with the national data opt-out and apply your choice to any confidential patient information they use or share for purposes beyond your individual care. Staffordshire County Council is currently compliant with the national data opt-out policy.

For further information about how Staffordshire County Council processes and protects your information, please refer to our Privacy Notice. 

Public Benefit Evaluation

Where the secondary use is considered to meet the public benefit test then confidential or personal data which may directly or indirectly identify you, could be used for reasons other than direct care, without your consent.

The public benefit test is met when an evaluation of the intended use of confidential or personal health and adult social care data, demonstrates that the project will deliver a benefit to the public or section of the public and is established through consideration of both the ‘public aspect’ and the ‘benefit aspect’.

The public benefit evaluation will:

  • be completed on a case-by-case basis;
  • not be restrictive or stop potential benefits from being achieved;
  • include a diversity of perspectives, including those of the public/section of the public and be proportionate to the type and scale of data use;
  • be completed in conjunction with a Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA);
  • be subject to further evaluations throughout the life of the project where
    • unmitigated risks exist
    • the benefit does not materialise or is not obvious and;
  • include a learning system or feedback loop to refine decisions made, based on what has/hasn’t worked.

The outcome of the project must be publicised, along with the rationale and motivations that were considered during the evaluation process, to the public/section of the public upon conclusion.

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