Patient confidentiality in NHS population screening programmes

Information about what personal information is used by the screening programmes and why. Includes your options, rights and how to find out more.



This publication explains how and why population screening programmes collect and process data. It covers:

  • how your information is protected and kept confidential
  • the information used by the NHS to invite people to be screened
  • the information used by Public Health England to ensure screening is safe and effective
  • the screening programmes and your rights
  • how long personal information is kept
  • the information shared by Public Health England
  • population screening programmes and the law
  • how to find out more or raise a concern
Published 1 January 2015
Last updated 21 June 2021 + show all updates
  1. Added information about the screening helpdesk.

  2. Added possibility of GPs sharing relevant information with screening services.

  3. New and expanded information to reflect the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

  4. Guidance updated for accuracy and clarity.

  5. Added information about patient confidentiality processes in cancer screening.

  6. First published.