What are the benefits of sharing my information?
SPIRE is a service that will be used to help NHSScotland and the Scottish Government plan for Scotland's health and care needs. It allows information from GP patient records to be transferred electronically and held securely at NHS national services Scotland. NHS national services Scotland support the NHS by gathering information and producing statistical information and analysis that helps NHSScotland make the right decisions for patients.
SPIRE uses information from GP practices all over Scotland in a safe and secure way.
NHS organisations and approved researchers will be able to use SPIRE in ways that could help you and everyone in Scotland, such as:
- Improving the quality of care for all patients.
- Planning services and care for people who have a condition or a health need.
- Responding to major public health issues like flu epidemics
- Improving the provision of health and care to vulnerable or disadvantaged groups.
- Developing knowledge about the uptake of vital medicines and vaccines.
- Supporting research into new treatments for particular illnesses.
What information will be used?
To understand and analyse the data, your date of birth, gender, vaccinations, diagnoses and prescribed medicines, will be extracted from your GP patient records. To protect your confidentiality, these details will be encrypted before they are sent, so that you can be confident that your information is secure at all times.
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. For example, to work out the total number of people in Scotland with a particular illness. Individual data will be grouped together to produce national and local health board summaries, which will be publicly available. 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 University researchers) will have to apply to an independent steering group if they want to use the information. Permission will only be considered where there is a clear health benefit and where patient confidentiality can be maintained at all times. The steering group includes members opf the public who represent patients' interests.
What choices do I have?
If you are happy for NHSScotland to use your information from your GP patient records for planning health and care services and for research, then you don't need to do anything - it will happen automatically.
If you have any questions about SPIRE or want to know more about how confidential information is managed, you can visit spire.scot or call NHS inform on 0800 22 44 88 to find out more.
When do I need to make a decision?
SPIRE will be introduced in phases from March 2017. You can opt out at any time. if you do, NHS National Services Scotland will no longer receive information from your GP patient records.