Privacy Notice

What is the aim of the Perioperative Quality Improvement Programme?

The Perioperative Quality Improvement Programme (PQIP) is being carried out by the Royal College of Anaesthetists (RCoA) Centre for Research & Improvement (formerly HSRC). University College London is the sponsor and the Health Foundation provided initial set up funding for the study which is planned to run until we have collected 70,000 patient records.

The PQIP aims to improve the care and treatment of patients undergoing major surgery in the United Kingdom. We do this by collecting and studying information about you, your surgery, and then your recovery afterwards.

The RCoA will be using information from you and/or your medical records in order to undertake this study and the RCoA and UCL will act as joint data controllers for this study.  This means that they are responsible for looking after your information and using it properly. 

RCoA will keep identifiable information about you for 30 years after the study has finished (currently planned to be until 2050) in order to track your long-term recovery after surgery.

Your rights to access, change or move your information are limited, as we need to manage your information in specific ways in order for the research to be reliable and accurate.  If you withdraw from the study, we will keep the information about you that we have already obtained.  To safeguard your rights, we will use the minimum personally-identifiable information possible.

What information do we collect about you and how do we use this?

We collect information about patients, their surgery, and then recovery afterwards, both in hospital and at home. This information does not affect the care received. Some of this information is provided directly by the patient about their general health.

Other information will be completed by doctors and nurses, and includes information about the type of surgery, anaesthesia and care received before, during and after surgery. 

The personal information we collect is name, date of birth, NHS number and postcode.

PQIP will not publish information that can enable individual patients to be identified.   

The information collected by PQIP is used by doctors, nurses and medical researchers to:

  • Produce information on the quality of care received by patients undergoing major surgery in NHS hospitals.
  • Ensure that any changes or improvements to our services benefit patients.
  • Learn about the best ways in which doctors and nurses can use patient information to improve quality of care.
  • Understand better what happens to patients after they leave hospital after having a major operation, and whether the surgery has had a beneficial effect on their longer-term health.

Legal basis for processing personal data

The RCoA collects your personal information in line with its charitable objectives, which can be found at  Our use of your information is based on the legitimate interest we have to advance, promote and carry on study and research into anaesthesia and related subjects and to disseminate the useful results of that research.

Who we share data with?

PQIP only shares patient-level data following strict governance procedures to ensure compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

To help PQIP provide an in-depth picture of your care, we send personal details (NHS number, date of birth, postcode) to NHS Digital (England), NHS Wales Informatic Service (Patient Episode Database for Wales, Wales) or NHS National Services Scotland (Scotland). These organisations will link information to individual participants in the study, which will tell us if patients have (for example) been readmitted to hospital after going home. In addition, NHS Digital, NHS Wales Informatic Service, and National Services Scotland are able to provide us with information about people who may have passed away in order that we do not make contact and cause any distress to relatives. This information includes date and cause of death, which is sourced from civil registration data on behalf of the Office for National Statistics. The linked information is returned to the PQIP study team in a digital file. The only identifiable details included in this file are the study ID and any information provided on the date and cause of death.

The personal information is only shared with NHS Digital, NHS Wales Informatic Service (Patient Episode Database for Wales) or NHS National Services Scotland to enable the linkage to the information held by them. Patient details will not be shared with anyone else outside the NHS or PQIP research team.

The information collected by PQIP is only used for research after it has been made anonymous.

How do we protect your data?

The RCoA takes the security of your data seriously. In order to prevent unauthorised access or disclosure, we have put in place suitable physical, electronic and managerial procedures to safeguard and secure the information we collect online.

Local clinical teams enter patient data into a secure web-based tool provided by Netsolving Ltd.  Only the hospitals participating via the doctors, nurses and clinical audit staff and the PQIP project team will have access to the web-based tool.  Security and confidentiality is maintained through the use of passwords and a person specific registration process. 

Changes to our privacy policy

We keep our privacy policy under regular review and we will always include the latest version on this web page.

The privacy policy was last updated on 8th March 2024.

Who can I contact about this notice?

RCoA has a Data Protection Officer - who can help you with any queries about the information in this privacy notice:

You also have the right to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), the supervisory authority in the UK responsible for the implementation and enforcement of data protection law, if you have concerns about the way your personal data is being handled.  You can contact the ICO via their website  - or by calling their helpline – 0303 123 1113.