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NHS data use programme rolls out across the North of England

A new system to collect information from patient's medical records that will help to provide a 'joined-up' picture of the country's health and social care needs is currently underway in the region.

Every week, the NHS collects millions of pieces of data about the nature of people's health, the way services are accessed and the types of treatments provided to support our nations' health and wellbeing.

Care.data is being delivered by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) and NHS England to bring this information together so the NHS can use it to:

  • better understand and improve the health of the nation;
  • find ways of targeting, preventing, treating and managing illness and disease; and
  • better anticipate future need for services and plan and commission accordingly.

The information gathered - date of birth, full postcode, NHS Number and gender - will be used to link patient records in a secure system, managed by the HSCIC. Confidentiality is paramount and if this information is used, it will not contain information that identifies individuals. The type of information shared, and how it is shared, is controlled by law and strict confidentiality rules.

NHS England is committed to supporting patients in making informed decisions about their healthcare and how their information is used. The awareness campaign explains what information will be used as part of care.data and makes it clear how people can opt out if they choose to do so.

NHS Choices already contains a wide range of information about care.data on its website - www.nhs.uk/caredata - with sections for both health professionals and patients/the public.

The first data extraction takes place in March 2014.