National data opt-outs are set or changed by patients themselves, or someone legally able to act for them.
Patients who can choose to set a national data opt-out
Anyone who has an NHS number and has registered for care or treatment with the NHS in England can set an opt out if they wish to, even if they don’t currently live in England.
Patients who can set an opt-out choice for themselves
Patients who can set an opt-out choice on behalf of someone else
Someone can set an opt-out choice on behalf of a patient, by proxy, if:
- they are the parent or legal guardian of the patient, who is a child aged 12 or under
- they have a formal legal relationship with the patient, for example they have legal power of attorney or are a court-appointed deputy
They can only do this using the ‘print and post’ service.
Changing an opt-out choice
An opt-out choice can be changed at any time by the patient or their proxy.
Using the online service
Patients can set their own opt-out choice by visiting www.nhs.uk/your-nhs-data-matters using any internet enabled device. So that the service can confirm their identity, they will need to provide:
- their NHS number, or their postcode (as registered with their GP practice)
- their mobile phone number or email address provided previously at a GP practice or other NHS service
The online service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Using the NHS App
Patients who have registered for the NHS App using NHS login can set a national data opt-out using the app.
Using the telephone service
Patients can set their own opt-out choice by calling 0300 303 5678.
Calling this number should cost no more than calls to a normal landline number.
The telephone service is available 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, apart from on English bank or public holidays.
If a patient is unable to use the online or telephone service, or would prefer not to, they can compete a paper form and post it.
Patients in prison or secure settings
There are special arrangements for patients in prison or other similar secure settings, known as detained and secure estates. A health and care professional can help register a patient’s opt-out choice. See Guidance for detained and secure estates.
During the process of setting their opt-out choice, the patient can choose their preferred communication method:
- SMS text
Once the process has been completed, the patient will receive a confirmation that their national data opt-out choice has been set.
See 3. Setting an opt-out in the national data opt-out operational policy guidance for full details.