Data access

How to apply for access to use the NOD data for research or audit purposes.

Data Access Policy

The RCOphth is the data controller for the NOD and its sub-contractors act as the data processors. The data controller has authority over the data and all aspects of its use, including the release of data for purposes other than the immediate requirements of the audits, and is responsible for assuring appropriate use of the data. 

This policy details the application procedure for the release of data held by the NOD Audit. Applicants who wish to use these data for research or audit purposes must complete and submit a Data Access Request form to the RCOphth.

A preliminary discussion with the NOD audit team is helpful prior to submission of an application to confirm if the NOD holds the required data. Initial contact should be made by contacting: If the answer is yes, you will be provided with a data access request form.

On receipt of the completed form, each application will be reviewed by the Data Release Advisory Group against the following criteria:   

  1. Is the proposed use of the data clinically appropriate? 
  2. Is the proposed use of the data methodologically sound?  
  3. Does the application align with the NOD strategic aims to improve:
    • patient care
    • patient safety
    • training competence
    • service delivery
    • access to data for healthcare
  4. Does the application satisfy the requirements of any data protection legislation in force in the UK including the Data Protection Act 2018 or any successor legislation, as well as the General Data Protection Regulation.  
  5. Are the necessary legal and ethical permissions and security arrangements in place? 

The RCOphth NOD Data Release Advisory Group may request the application be revised before being reconsidered for approval. A statement will be required confirming Ethical Approval if research or demonstrating exemption

Applicants should be aware that a cost recovery fee will be charged to compensate for the time spent by NOD staff processing the application and performing any agreed analyses. The fee is based on the complexity of the data requested and the proposed use of the data and quote will be provided.

Where data requests include or involve commercial or potential commercial applications or uses, a full economic costs approach will be adopted. Any work involved would need to be fitted into existing NOD work schedules which may result in delays during busy times.  

The RCOphth will confirm receipt of the request and undertake an initial review of each application within six weeks of final submission. 

The applicant will be informed of the decision of the NOD Data Release Advisory Group once their application has been processed. If the application is successful, the RCOphth will discuss the data transfer process, payment of fees and delivery timeframes with the applicant.  

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