The James Wigg Practice takes part in research. Research is important to the NHS and benefits us all, whether we are fit and healthy or suffering from an illness or condition. Research helps our understanding of the causes, prevention and treatment of disease and to improve the health care we receive.
Whenever you visit your doctor or use an NHS service, your electronic health record is updated. This record contains important information about your health and wellbeing and describes the care that you have received, which is vital for medical research.
For more than 30 years, GP practices across the UK have contributed anonymised health information within patient records to CPRD for medical research such as:
- Answering important questions about what causes illness and how to prevent and treat it
- Monitoring the safety of vaccines and medicines
- Understanding possible side effects of treatments in patients
Research using CPRD data has provided evidence for drug safety guidance and improved healthcare delivery. More than 2,200 public health studies have been published using CPRD data. See examples about how CPRD has used anonymised data to benefit patient and public health.
Protecting your identity and confidentiality
Your confidential information is protected in the following ways:
- You cannot be identified from the information sent to CPRD from your GP practice. CPRD never receives any personal identifying details, such as your name, address, NHS number or date of birth, from your GP
- CPRD only provides anonymised health data to researchers
- Data can only be used for research to improve patient and public health
- All research applications must be reviewed and approved by an expert scientific committee
- CPRD must obtain annual ethics and governance approvals to collect and supply data for research
- Data is held securely by CPRD and researchers must comply with strict terms and conditions when carrying out research
You may also wish to look at the Understanding Patient Data website for more general information about research use of medical data.
We hold de-identified information derived from general practice (GP) records so that we can support medical research and the monitoring of the effectiveness and safety of medical drugs and devices. This information may be supplemented with related information from other national and regional sources for particular studies
CPRD-supported clinical research involves patient participation where patients have been invited by their doctor and have consented to take part in a particular clinical study. We only hold medical information specific to that study and we do not know who the patients are.
All clinical studies require approval by a Research Ethics Committee.
The legal bases for processing this information
We do not hold or process personal data on patients; however, NHS Digital (formally the Health and Social Care Centre) may process ‘personal data’ for us as an accredited ‘safe haven’ or ‘trusted third-party’ within the NHS when linking GP data with data from other sources. The legal bases for processing this data are:
- Medicines and medical device monitoring: Article 6(e) and Article 9(2)(i) – public interest in the area of public health
- Medical research and statistics: Article 6(e) and Article 9(2)(j) – public interest and scientific research purposes
You can opt out
You can opt out of any of your confidential patient information being used for planning and research. If you do not want your GP practice to share such information from your health record, let your doctor know. Opting out of sharing your health records will not affect the direct care that you receive, though may affect how well the NHS can operate (see below). You can find out more about the National Data Opt-out in England.
The Government depends on the data collected by CPRD to monitor drug safety and safeguard public health. If large numbers of patients or specific patient groups choose not to share anonymised health information for research, the information in CPRD will not truly represent the UK population. This situation may lead to unreliable evidence from research studies and incorrect answers to important health and safety concerns.