Sharing information in your medical records

UPDATE: NHS England has announced a delay to the start of extractions until the autumn.

The NHS wants to improve the quality of care and health services for all. By using information about the care you have received, those involved in providing care and health services can see how well they are doing, and where improvements need to be made.

NHS organisations share information about the care you receive with those who plan health and social care services, as well as with approved researchers and organisations outside the NHS, if this will benefit patient care. As a patient, you may receive care and treatment from a number of places such as your GP practice, hospitals and community services. 

By bringing this information together from all the different places, the care provided in one area can be compared with the care provided in another, to evaluate what worked best.

Information such as your postcode and NHS number will be used to link your records from these different places. Records are linked in a secure system so your identity is protected. Details that could identify you will be removed before your information is made available to others, such as those planning NHS services and approved researchers. Sometimes confidential information will be released to approved researchers, if this is allowed by law and meets the strict rules that are in place to protect your privacy.

If you do not want information that identifies you to be shared outside your GP practice, please ask the practice to make a note of this in your medical record. This note will prevent your confidential information from being used other than in special circumstances.

If you have any questions or are not happy for information about you to be shared, speak to your GP practice.

Where can I get more information?
Visit the NHS Choices website at:

  • for more information, a list of common questions, or another format of this leaflet.
  • Speak to staff at your GP practice.
  • Call our dedicated patient information line on: 0300 456 3531
  • This line also offers translation and text phone services.
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