Simon Madden, Director of Data Policy at NHSX ,on behalf of the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, notified GP practices on 10 February 2022 that the COPI notice which was set to expire on 31 March 2022 has been extended for a further three months until 30 June 2022.
Under the COPI notice organisations are only required to process confidential patient information (CPI):
- where the CPI to be processed is required for a COVID-19 purpose and will processed solely for that COVID-19 purpose in accordance with Regulation 7 of COPI
- from the date of this notice (10 February 2022) until 30 June 2022 (this also includes a case where the dissemination of the CPI in question was authorised under a previous COPI notice which began before the 10 February 2022 and where the processing is set to continue after this date).
The NHS Transformation Directorate have advised organisations to use the short extension of the COPI notice to prepare and ensure that all processing which relies on the COPI notices is ready to cease or move to an alternative sustainable legal basis by 30 June 2022.
In addition, the COPI notice to GP Practices in England whose IT systems are supplied by TPP or EMIS requiring them to release primary care patient data, in respect of UK Biobank’s consented participants only, to UK Biobank, for the purposes set out in Regulation 3(1) of COPI has also been extended until 30 June 2022.
For background information: Regulation 3 of the Health Service (Control of Patient Information) Regulations 2002 (COPI Regulations) enables those working for the purposes of the health service, and other organisations employed by a public authority in communicable disease surveillance, to share confidential patient information (CPI) to respond to communicable diseases and other threats to public health. It also allows the Secretary of State to issue notices requiring that CPI be shared for such purposes.