National Data Opt-out

UPDATE August 2021 – The health and social care system is facing significant pressures due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Staff will need to work in different ways than usual and we want to ensure that they can focus on responding to these events.

Under the National Opt-out Policy patients in England are able to opt out of their identifiable data being used for purposes other than provision of their health and social care.

All NHS and private hospitals submitting identifiable patient data for the National Cardiac Audit Programme (NCAP) and NICOR registries e.g. the UK TAVI Registry (which rely on Section 251 approval) must screen the patient data by using the NHS number against the National Opt-out Repository held by NHS Digital (on the Spine) before the data is transmitted to NICOR.

It is not possible for NICOR, as the data processor, to receive unscreened data and then delete the opted-out patients on behalf of the hospital. Each hospital need to implement a local solution to ensure that they screen their data against the national data opt-out list before submitting it to NICOR.   Any centre that fails to screen patient data before submitting to NICOR will not only be in breach of the National Opt-out Policy, but will also be making the task of removing opt-outs from our database more difficult for NICOR.

The implementation deadline for the National Opt-out Policy is now 31/03/2022. 

Some hospitals are planning to screen their whole registered patient population against the opt-out list on a weekly basis and some have implemented IT solutions to allow clinical teams to do this before data is submitted to NICOR.

The National Opt-out Policy is not applicable to data from the devolved nations (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland), the Republic of Ireland, or for private patients treated in independent hospitals.

UPDATE 29 MARCH 2022 – Further extension to July 2022

The deadline for compliance with the National Data Opt Out policy has once again changed to 31 July 2022.