The NHS uses medical records for audit or research to improve future health and care. Hospitals and health professionals make a note when someone does not want their health records to be used for audit or research (known as dissent).
If a patient (or legal guardian) wishes to dissent from research, their data would not be used in BPSU studies.
BPSU studies use, with appropriate consent, data from patient records. The studies do not involve any direct contact by researchers with individual patients; individual patient consent is not sought.
The General Medical Council's principles of good medical practice, in particular state that all doctors should take prompt action to prevent the compromising of patient safety, dignity or comfort. These principles are observed in research using the BPSU surveillance system.
BPSU studies go through very thorough checks before they start and these ensure that confidentiality is protected at all stages.