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PHE Statement

Everything Genetic Ltd are bound by statutory requirements for reporting of notifiable infectious disease to Public Health England. The statements below provide the legal basis for collecting these data and the exemption to hold data without explicit patient consent.

PHE is an executive agency of the Department of Health and Social Care. It fulfils the Secretary of State’s statutory duties to protect health and address health inequalities, and executes the Secretary of State’s power to promote the health and wellbeing of the nation. PHE’s annual remit letter from the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Prevention, Public Health and Primary Care sets out its responsibility to protect the public’s health from infectious diseases and other public health hazards.

All laboratories in England performing a primary diagnostic role must notify PHE of specified causative agents (organisms), in accordance the Health Protection (Notification) Regulations 2010. SARS-COV-2 is the notifiable causative agent for Covid-19. All proper officers must disclose the entire notification to PHE. Covid-19 is a notifiable infectious disease.

PHE has approval from the Secretary of State to process confidential information associated with notifiable causative agents and notifiable infectious diseases without patient consent under Regulation 3 of the Health Service (Control of Patient Information) Regulations 2002.

Information on individuals with both negative and positive test results are required to enable an accurate denominator to be determined (i.e. by counting people rather than the number of tests). The denominator is used to provide positivity rates in various groups (e.g. by age, ethnicity, gender or geographic areas). Having individual level negative data also provides a complete testing history. This allow episode lengths to be determined, the monitoring of repeat infections and links to other data, such as antibody test results to determine if the immune response is protective.

The reporting to PHE guide provides details of how PHE collect data, how it is processed and the governance rules that are in place. See PHE guide

PHE takes the Caldicott requirements very seriously and ensures that, in all areas of activity, its work is consistent with both the Caldicott guidelines and the Data Protection Act. Approval needs to be applied for on an annual basis and our cover under Section 251 of the NHS Act (2006) is dependent on continued adherence to high quality data handling standards.

Public Health England will share data with NHS Test, Track and Trace for positive COVID-19 cases. The information you give will be handled in strict confidence and will only be kept and used in line with data protection laws. It will help us to contact people who are at risk of having been exposed to coronavirus and explain what they must do to help prevent the further spread of the virus.

If NHS Test and Trace contacts you, the service will use text messages, email or phone. All texts or emails will ask you to sign into the NHS Test and Trace contact-tracing website. If NHS Test and Trace calls you by phone, the service will be using the phone number 0300 013 5000.

All information you provide to NHS Test and Trace is held in strict confidence and will only be kept and used in line with the Data Protection Act 2018.