Clinical Practice Research Datalink

Roundwood Park Medical Centre contributes to the Clinical Practice Research Datalink. More information is available here:

Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD) is a real-world research service supporting retrospective and prospective public health and clinical studies. CPRD research data services are delivered by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency with support from the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), as part of the Department of Health and Social Care.

CPRD collects anonymised patient data from a network of GP practices across the UK. Primary care data are linked to a range of other health related data to provide a longitudinal, representative UK population health dataset. The data encompass 60 million patients, including 18 million currently registered patients.

For more than 30 years, research using CPRD data and services has informed clinical guidance and best practice, resulting in over 3,000 peer-reviewed publications investigating drug safety, use of medicines, effectiveness of health policy, health care delivery and disease risk factors.

How patient data is used for medical research

Research using CPRD anonymised patient data has provided evidence for drug safety guidance and improved healthcare delivery. More than 3,000 medical and public health research studies have been published using CPRD data.

See examples of how CPRD anonymised data has been used to benefit patient care and public health.

Protecting your confidentiality and privacy

Protecting patient privacy is essential. This is why CPRD never receives information that identifies patients and only provides anonymised health data to approved researchers. Your confidential information is protected in the following ways:

  • You cannot be identified from the information sent to CPRD from your GP practice or from any data CPRD receives from other sources.
  • CPRD never receives identifying details, such as your name, address, NHS number, date of birth or medical notes
  • Data can only be used for research to improve patient and public health
  • CPRD must obtain annual ethics and governance approvals to collect and supply data for research
  • Researchers must comply with strict terms and conditions to use anonymised CPRD data for research

The ability to link primary care data to other health datasets enables researchers to have a more complete picture of a patient’s medical history. In England, this data linkage is carried out via NHS England, the statutory body legally permitted to receive identifiable patient data. The linkage process involves NHS England receiving and processing identifiable non-clinical information about a patient, on behalf of CPRD. NHS England only sends anonymised linked data to CPRD.

As an additional step to protecting patient confidentiality, we do not share details of the GP practices that contribute data to CPRD. Find out more about how we protect your confidential information on our Safeguarding Patient Data page and Data protection and processing notice web page.

You can opt out

Because you cannot be identified from the data GP practices send to CPRD, GPs do not need to seek individual patient consent when they share data with CPRD.

However, you can opt out of your patient information being shared for research. If you do not want your GP practice to share your health record, let your doctor know if you live in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. If you are in England you can find out more about the National Data Opt-out.

Opting out of sharing your health records will not affect the care that you receive. However, the Government depends on the data collected by CPRD to monitor drug safety and safeguard public health. If large numbers of patients choose not to share their anonymised health information for research, the health information within the CPRD database will not truly represent the UK population.

CPRD is an official supporter of Understanding Patient Data, an initiative that aims to make uses of patient data more visible, understandable and trustworthy, for patients, the public and health professionals.

There is also information on the Understanding Patient Data website: The national data opt-out.