Covid-19 data use

During Covid, a national recommendation was put forward for all CCGs to put in to place a Covid Oximetry At Home (CO@h) service.

This service was to ensure that patients who have suspected or confirmed covid could have their oxygen levels measured through a pathway that monitored them at home and was successfully implemented in a large number of areas across the NHS.

This was approved under a Covid-19 Public Health Directions passed by the Secretary of State for Health and a data provision notice also published under section 259 of the act, that allows for Patient Identifiable Information (PID) to flow from healthcare systems to NHS Digital to for further analysis and research, being linked with other parts of their PID that may be held elsewhere in the Health and Social Care system.

Patients have a right to object to their data leaving their GP records for the purpose of research (secondary use) and if their data has left their GP record, then an objection can be applied to prevent it being used for onward research and planning.

To stop data leaving the GP record, the GP is required to add the ‘Dissent from secondary use of GP patient identifiable data’ code (Read v2: 9Nu0 or CVT3: XaZ89) to the clinical record. This can be done by downloading this form and sending it in to your GP practice:

2018-05-25-National-Data-Opt-out-trifold.pdf (

Data may historically also have been released to NHS Digital for other purposes and to raise an objection for health records that have already left the GP record to be used for research and planning, this online form also needs to be completed by patients:

Make your choice about sharing data from your health records – NHS


NHS Digital transparency notice ( providing a legal basis under articles 6 and 9 of GDPR for processing special category personal data. The legal basis under articles 6 and 9 of GPDR is outlined here Coronavirus (COVID-19) response transparency notice – NHS Digital which is linked to the CO@H transparency notice.

NHS England has directed NHS Digital to collect the data under section 254 of the Health and Social Care Act and NHS Digital now requires providers to send in the data under section 259 of the Act. This is detailed within the Data Provision Notice. As detailed on the Understanding the national data opt-out webpage, the national data opt-outs do not apply to the disclosure of data to NHS Digital where NHS Digital indicate data should be provided to them under section 259 of the Act. Whenever a disclosure from NHS Digital is requested/proposed, then the question of opt-outs will be considered – and NHS Digital will act in accordance with the policy. Each disclosure would be considered individually.

All approved data releases are published in the public domain via the DARS and COVID-19 release registers: Register of approved data releases – NHS Digital

Further information on the national patient opt-out policy is described in general terms here:

UPDATED: 11/05/2021