- how we use your information
- who we share your information with
- how we keep your data secure
- about your rights to see or change information held about you
Information that can identify you
We’ll always tell you when we are collecting this information.
When you use the service we collect:
- your postcode - to get you help in the right location
- your age and sex - so we ask the right medical questions
When you answer questions about your symptoms (called ‘triage’) we collect the answers. We also collect the symptom you tell us about and the outcome (called ‘disposition’) you reach. This is so we can recommend the right outcome for your health needs.
If you would like to be referred to a healthcare provider after the triage we will ask for your:
- first name
- last name
- address and postcode
- telephone number
If you’re using the service on behalf of someone else we’ll ask for their details. We need this personal information as we can’t give you the healthcare service you have asked for without it.
We use the personal information you’ve given us to carry out a 'personal demographic service (PDS)' check. This means we try and find your NHS number and your GP details. Having your NHS number means the healthcare professional you’re referred to can see information about you, such as details about any care plan you might be on. This makes it easier for them to give you the right help.
We will pass this personal information and the advice you've been given to a healthcare professional. The healthcare professional may work outside the NHS (for example, a pharmacist, or dentist), but will have been commissioned by the NHS to provide services for 111. By agreeing to be referred to a healthcare professional you consent to the sharing of your personal information in a way which respects the Common Law Duty of Confidentiality. We’ll also store the information securely for 8 years for clinical audit purposes only.
We collect details from your 111 online visit and link it to data from the Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) database. We collect your age, sex, date and time of your 111 online visit, the first part of your postcode, the answers to questions we asked and your NHS number (if it’s been used).
The data will be linked to any recent A&E visit or hospital admission at NHS hospitals in England. After the data is linked and before it’s used for analysis, the data will be fully anonymised so that you cannot be identified.
If you’re advised to go to another service, we may send your details on to that service. We send your personal information, including your NHS number, and the answers to the questions you gave when using 111 online.
If you choose to get an email or text message confirming that your details have been sent to the receiving service, we use a secure government service called GOV.UK Notify. You can read about how your data is kept secure in their privacy notice. https://www.notifications.service.gov.uk/privacy (opens in a new tab)
We might ask you to complete a survey when you’ve finished using the service. The survey is run by 111 online using a tool provided by a third party (Qualtrics). The survey will include some information about how you used 111 online and what outcome you got. With your permission only, we may link your survey responses to the information you entered in the website. This information helps us improve the service for future users.
We might also ask for your email so we can send you a survey later to ask you about what happened after you used 111 online.
Other information we may collect
You can leave feedback on most pages of the website. Feedback on pages is collected anonymously. We don’t look at it all the time and are unable to give you a response. If you need someone to get back to you please call 111.
We also collect anonymous information about how you reached the website, for example details of your web browser and part of your IP address. This is so we can improve the service for future users.
Keeping your personal data secure
We convert your data into secure code (encrypt it) and store it on secure servers in England. A partner organisation is providing hosting services but has no say in how the information is used. There are no legal ways for their employees to see the data, only approved people in the NHS 111 online development team can see it.
If you choose to be referred to a healthcare service, we add your personal details to the answers you have given to create a clinical record. We send this securely to the healthcare service that you select, which might be a service commissioned by the NHS like a pharmacy or dentist. By agreeing to be referred to a healthcare professional you agree to this.
NHS Digital keeps referral information that can identify you for 8 years for clinical audit purposes only. It’s then securely destroyed.
8 years is the amount of time information is kept for clinical audit purposes in the NHS.
If you shared your email with us as part of your survey answers it will be deleted after 2 years. At that point you can't be identified in the survey data.
Links to other websites
We will pass your answers and personal details to the healthcare service you have selected if you (or the person you are contacting us about), choose to be referred. This healthcare service might be outside the NHS, but commissioned by it.
That healthcare service may then go on to share your data with other healthcare providers. They will follow their own policies and data protection legislation if so.
By agreeing to be referred to another healthcare provider you are also agreeing that your data can be forwarded to them so they can provide care. If you’re contacting us on behalf of someone else you should make sure that person has agreed their data can be shared in this way.
Other uses of your data
NHS Digital will also share:
- anonymous information on how the service is used with the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England, clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), and the National Clinical Governance Group
- anonymous data with Public Health England (PHE) for detecting and monitoring clusters of disease (syndromic surveillance). You cannot be identified from this data. The information is used to monitor trends and plan responses to outbreaks of disease, such as coronavirus (COVID-19).
- anonymous information to improve the service with 111 online suppliers, the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England, CCGs, and the National Clinical Governance Group
- results from user research and changes made to the service as a result of it with CCGs
We may pass on your personal information if we’re legally obliged to do so.
If you make a claim against us, we, and other third parties such as our solicitors, may need to look at this information.
We won’t share your personal information with anyone else without your permission for any other reason.
Legal information about using and storing data
The Department of Health and Social Care has instructed NHS Digital to provide this service through a legally-binding document called a Direction. This means that NHS Digital is processing your personal data to meet our legal obligation to provide this service.
Articles 6 and 9 of the General Data Protection Regulation give 111 online a lawful basis to process personal and health data.
National data opt out
If you don't want your confidential patient information to be used for research and planning, you can opt out by visiting your NHS data matters.
If you do opt out there are some situations where your data may still be used. For example, if you've given consent for your data to be used for a specific reason like a medical research study. You can read more detail on what these situations might be on NHS UK . Data that does not identify you may also still be used.
You can also:
- find out what information we hold about you, ask us to correct it if it’s wrong, or delete it by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org (for our Data Protection Officer contact email@example.com)
- withdraw the permission you gave to link your survey responses and the information you entered in the 111 website if you also provided your email. You can do this at any time, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
- contact the Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House Water Lane, Wilmslow SK9 5AF ico.org.uk if you want to make a complaint about how we have managed your data.
NHS Digital, 1 Trevelyan Square, Boar Lane, Leeds, LS1 6AE is the Data Controller for NHS 111 online under data protection legislation. We will process your data in line with data protection legislation.