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Health Act 1999

Section 42: Provision of information by Registrar General

282.The Registrar General has a duty to collect information relating to births and deaths under the Births and Deaths Registration Act 1953. Each week registrars supply the Registrar General with details of all the births and deaths registered during the preceding week. He also receives data about births and deaths outside the UK under various statutory provisions. These are used to update the NHS Central Register.

283.The main function of the NHS Central Register is to support the work of Health Authorities in England and Wales by maintaining a central record of all patients registered for NHS purposes. Primarily it assists in the transfer of patient case notes between GPs, by informing Health Authorities of patients moving out of their area, and supports the maintenance of accurate GP lists by informing Health Authorities of deaths, emigrations and enlistment in the Forces. It holds a basic set of data on registered patients (name, date of birth, sex, NHS number and Health Authority registration).

284.The above arrangements for the weekly transmission of data collected by registrars to the NHS Central Register were introduced at the beginning of the Second World War. The arrangements in respect of certain births and deaths outside the UK were introduced at about the same time. There is no specific power to provide any of this information to the Secretary of State for Health.

285.The purpose of this section is to amend the 1977 Act to bring about the formal, legal, regularisation of the supply of registration data to the Secretary of State for Health for health purposes only.

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