The purpose of the data collection is to respond to the intense demand for General Practice data to be shared in support of vital planning and research for COVID-19 purposes, including under the general legal notice issued by the Secretary of State under Regulation 3(4) of the Health Service (Control of Patient Information) Regulations 2002 (COPI).
The England General Practitioners Committee (GPC England), of the British Medical Association (BMA) and the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) requested support from General Practitioners for these data collections. They have made the following statement:
The RCGP and BMA support this initiative. The collection set out in this DPN was designed by NHS Digital, with the support of NHSX in response to concerns raised by representatives of the GP profession regarding the current pressure on General Practice to respond to multiple requests to release data in support of COVID-19 planning and research.
NHS Digital as the data controller for nationally extracted data will ensure that due diligence is carried out regarding any applications made to NHS Digital for access to the data that is being collected. NHSX will be responsible for a single point of contact (SPOC) COVID-19 request process that will triage and prioritise those applications that are applicable to this data set and pass those applications to NHS Digital who will be responsible for assessing and fulfilling the applications; these applications will only be successful if they pass the appropriate ethical, legal and Information Governance requirements to ensure that data is only shared where it is secure, lawful and appropriate to do so. NHS Digital will do this through the Data Access Request Service (DARS) with advice on requests for data from this collection from the Independent Group Advising on the Release of Data (IGARD) along with consultation with profession representatives at RCGP and the BMA.
A Data Provision Notice had been issued directly to practices and can be found here