Scottish Primary Care Information Resource (SPIRE)

NHS Scotland is improving the way it uses information from GP patient records

From May 2017 we will improve the way we use information from GP patient records. These changes will help to plan and improve health and care services in Scotland.

SPIRE (Scottish Primary Care Information Resource) is a service that has been developed to help GPs, the NHS in Scotland and researchers to learn from information held at GP practices.

What are the benefits of sharing my information?

SPIRE will be used to help plan for Scotland’s health and care needs. It allows information from GP patient records to be transferred electronically and held securely at NHS National Services Scotland, the NHS Scotland organisation responsible for health statistics.

It uses information from GP practices all over Scotland in a safe and secure way.

NHS organisations and approved researchers will be able to use SPIRE in ways that could help you and everyone in Scotland.

How will I and other patients benefit?

  • It will be easier for practices to monitor patients on particular medications and make sure they are getting the right follow-up care.
  • Your surgery will be able to better meet your needs, particularly if you have a long-term medical condition.
  • SPIRE will help with research into new treatments for particular illnesses and conditions that you might suffer from.
  • It will be easier for the NHS to look at how many people have certain health problems and to plan services.

SPIRE will help your practice provide you with better care and services and help with the following:

  • Planning the practice time and staffing levels more efficiently
  • Analysing the number of patients that have certain illnesses or looking at the medicines they are prescribed
  • Keeping more accurate medical records with better quality of information
  • Responding more easily to research requests from organisations like charities or university researchers
  • Groups of practices who work together in a community can look at what conditions or illnesses are most common in the area.

How will the NHS and Scotland benefit?

Being able to use this information will mean NHS Scotland can:

  • Improve the quality of care for all patients
  • Plan services and care for people who have a condition or a health need
  • Respond to major public health issues like flu epidemics
  • Improve the provision of health and care to vulnerable or disadvantaged groups
  • Develop knowledge about the uptake of vital medicines and vaccines.
  • Support research into new treatments for particular illnesses

What choices do I have?

If you’re happy for NHS Scotland to use information from your GP patient records for planning health and care services and for research, then you don’t need to do anything – it will happen automatically.

If you have any questions about SPIRE or want to know more about how confidential information is managed, just visit us at

Alternatively call NHS inform on 0800 22 44 88 to find out more.

When do I need to make a decision? SPIRE will be introduced in phases across Scotland from January 2017. You can opt out at any time. If you do, NHS National Services Scotland will no longer receive information from your GP patient records. NHS National Services Scotland support the NHS by gathering information and producing statistical information and analysis that helps NHS Scotland make the right decisions for patients. You can change your mind at any time. Your choice will not affect the care you receive from your GP.

If you do not want information from your GP patient records to be used in this way, you need to notify your GP practice that you “want to opt out of SPIRE” by filling out the Opt Out form on the SPIRE website or the link below. Please print the form fill it out and hand it into your GP Surgery.

Choosing not to take part in SPIRE?

If you do not want your health information to be used, please fill in the form below and return it to your practice.

They will make sure your personal information is not used. When you have done that, NSS will not get any personal information from your GP practice’s health records. You can choose not to take part, or you can change your mind and take part at any time. Your choice will not affect the care you get from your GP practice or hospital.

SPIRE opt-out form

You have a choice about your patient record being used in this way: 

Please return the form via email:

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