Keeping my information safe

What information will be used?

Safe Information

Colin Angus, Chairman of the RCGP Patient Participation in Partnership (P3) group on how SPIRE will keep information safe and confidential, and how SPIRE can help improve health in Scotland.

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Certain information from your GP patient records will be used, such as your date of birth, gender, vaccinations, diagnoses and prescribed medicines. SPIRE will only use the information that is needed for the purpose of the analysis. No notes your doctor or nurse has made from discussions you have had with them will be used and no information leaving your GP practice will have names or personal details on it.

To protect your confidentiality, these details will be encrypted before they leave the GP practice so you can be confident that your information is secure at all times.

Safe Information

Jim Walker, a patient representative on the SPIRE Project Board reassures patients about the safeguards in place with SPIRE.

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Who will be able to access the information gathered through SPIRE?

The information will be used by trained and authorised analysts at NHS National Services Scotland, the NHSScotland organisation responsible for health statistics. For example, SPIRE could be used to work out the total number of people in Scotland with a particular illness. Information from many patients will be grouped together to produce national and local Health Board summaries. You will not be able to be identified from these reports .

Some NHSScotland organisations such as Health Boards will be able to request information to perform their own analysis, for instance, to understand what is happening within local services.

Health researchers from outside the NHSScotland (for example, charity or university researchers) will have to apply to the independent SPIRE Steering Group if they want to use information from GP records. All requests for information will have to be approved by this independent SPIRE Steering Group.

Permission will only be considered where there is a clear health benefit and where patient confidentiality can be maintained at all times. The independent SPIRE Steering Group includes members of the public who represent patients’ interests.

There are strict rules governing how information is managed and all staff involved have a legal duty to keep information safe and secure.

Information from your GP patient records will not be sold nor will solicitors, insurance, drug or marketing companies be able to access information from SPIRE.

For more detailed information on how your information will be kept safe, visit Your questions answered.