National data opt-out

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.


Patient who can set an opt out choice for themselves

If the patient is aged 13 or over, they can set their own opt-out choice using the online service, the telephone service, the NHS App, or ‘print and post’, completing a form by hand and sending it in.


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 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

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 using any internet enabled device.  So that the service can confirm their identify, they will need to provide:


  • their NHS number, or their postcode ( as registered with the 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

Patient 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.


Using ‘print-and-post’

If a patient is unable to use the online or telephone service, or would prefer not to, they can complete a paper form and post it.


The form can be downloaded from or requested by calling the telephone service on 0300 303 5678


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:


  • email
  • SMS text
  • Letter


Once the process has been completed, the patient will receive a confirmation that their national data opt-out choice has been set. 

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