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Ambulance Data Set – Privacy notice

We, the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST), routinely collect information from the initial contact when we receive a call in the 999 Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) through to completing an electronic patient record (EPR) with information about the patient and care we provide, when we attend an incident. Some of this information goes on to form part of the Ambulance Data Set (ADS).

If a patient is transferred from ambulance services to the care of an Emergency Department, information within the Ambulance Data Set is subsequently linked with key information collected in Emergency Departments as part of the Emergency Care Data Set (ECDS).

The purpose of this is to fully understand the patient’s journey from the ambulance service to other urgent and emergency healthcare settings. This will enable clinicians, ambulance services and the NHS to learn from patient journeys and further improve the care they provide in the future.

Data collected by ambulance services and emergency departments is securely linked and transferred to us. Data collected as part of the Ambulance Data Set is shared with NHS Digital* – a section of NHS England specialised in data and IT systems – where it is linked with key relevant information in the Emergency Care Data Set and securely returned to us.

This linked information includes a unique number generated by us during the initial 999 call, as well as a unique vehicle reference which will help us re-identify the original care record for the incident and the patient.

Appropriate access to this information will enable us to help develop the skills of our clinicians to improve the care they provide and support us in delivering service improvements to improve patient experience.

Patients will be able to opt out from this process if they so wish and data about their emergency care will remain with the ambulance service and / or the Emergency Department.

For more information about the National Data Opt-Out, please visit

The lawful bases under common law for this process are as follows:

For the ambulance service to process this information, under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) the lawful basis for processing this data is found at articles:

6 (1)(e) – “…exercise of official authority” and for processing special categories (health) data the basis is

9 (2)(h) – ‘…health or social care…’ of the GDPR Regulations.

For the data collected by ambulance services (ADS) to be linked with relevant data items collected at Emergency Departments (ECDS) the lawful basis are the sections:

To share linked data back with ambulance services, NHS England on behalf of Ambulance Services, have obtained a Section 251 approval, as required by the NHS Act 2006 and Health Service (Control of Patient Information) Regulations 2002.

Overall, the above provides a legal bases for patient information to be processed for these purposes.

Note: *NHS Digital officially merged with NHS England on 1st Feb 2023, therefore the organisation previously known as NHS Digital is legally known as NHS England and data held by NHS Digital is now held within NHS England.

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