Legal basis for sharing patient identifiable information

NHS England hold approval from the Confidentiality Advisory Group (CAG) of the Heath Research Authority under Section 251, for information to be shared for the purpose of the LeDeR programme.

Further details on the legal basis for sharing data with LeDeR reviewers can also be found in the LeDeR policy.

Details of the CAG S251 approval (ref: 20/CAG/0067 (previously 16/CAG/0056)) can be found on the Health Research Authority’s website.

The General Medical Council’s (GMC) confidentiality guidance advises that doctors should disclose relevant information about a patient who has died where disclosure is authorised under section 251 of the NHS Act 2006.

Paragraph 137 of the GMC guidance advises:

“103 - In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, statutory arrangements are in place for considering whether disclosing personal information without consent for health and social care purposes would benefit patients or the public sufficiently to outweigh patients’ right to privacy. Examples of these purposes include medical research, and the management of health or social care services. There is no comparable statutory framework in Scotland.

“104 - Section 251 of the National Health Service Act 2006 allow the common law duty of confidentiality to be set aside for defined purposes where it is not possible to use anonymized information and where seeking consent is not practicable.

“105 - You may disclose personal information without consent if the disclosure is permitted or has been approved under regulations made under section 251 of the National Health Service Act 2006. If you know that a patient has objected to information being disclosed for purposes other than direct care, you should not usually disclose the information unless it is required under the regulations.”