From time to time we try to trace study members using information held by government departments and agencies. So far, NCDS has tried to trace study members using records held by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the NHS (via the NHS Central Register). We may use other government databases in the future.
The NHS Central Register is a database of GP registrations and is held by NHS Digital (formerly the Health and Social Care Information Centre). We would also find out if you died or moved out of the country from this register.
Whenever we do this, we securely transfer the personal details (name, sex, date of birth and last known address) of study members to the government department or agency. They use these details to identify our study members and then send us their up-to-date addresses. They do not retain the personal details sent to them.
This kind of personal information is not given out routinely by government departments and agencies. Special permissions are needed, and this is only done after a careful review of why this information is needed, ethical issues and data security procedures. For the information coming from the NHS, special approval under Section 251 of the NHS Act 2006 from the NHS Confidentiality Advisory Group and NHS Digital Data Access Advisory Group is needed.