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How information collected from GP records for care.data will be used and shared

The information collected from GP records will be linked to information that the organisation holds from hospital records.

Once the information has been linked together, the details that identify you, such as your date of birth and postcode, will be removed and replaced by a reference number. This is known as pseudonymisation. This data is also referred to as "potentially identifiable" as there is a small risk that you could be identified. For example, if someone already knew that you had a rare disease and there was only one person in your area who had that disease, then they may realise the information relates to you even though your identifiers are not included.

There are strict controls on how we release this information. Organisations can only receive information for approved purposes for the benefit of health and social care and there must be a legal contract in place, including penalties for any misuse.

Currently, the linked GP and hospital information will only be used to support commissioning of health and care services.

This linked information will be used to improve the quality of care provided, to tailor services to local needs, and to ensure resources are allocated appropriately. For example, NHS planners will be able to investigate any delays between an initial presentation with symptoms to a GP and the subsequent treatment in hospital. They will be able to compare how patients in different parts of the country are cared for by their GP practice and local hospitals. By analysing data in these ways, NHS planners will be able to identify areas of best practice and areas where improvements are needed. This will help to raise standards of care across the country.

Find out more about the rules which apply to our sharing of data.

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