Information for patients

Sorry you’re unwell and that you possibly have COVID-19. We hope that, like most people with this illness, you’ll soon make an uneventful and speedy recovery.

We are medical researchers from Imperial College London and University of Oxford. We’re trying to improve how to predict the severity of COVID-19. Most people feel poorly but then recover. But about 10-20% people have a more severe illness. We’re keen to pick those people up early.

The research is called data linkage. Specific data from your electronic medical record relating to COVID-19 (such as your temperature, pulse, breathing rate and how bad you felt today when asked about your symptoms) will be sent to a secure data repository. We will then link your GP and hospital records to find out how you got on. We’ll be looking for three things: survival rates after 8 weeks, whether people were admitted to intensive care, and whether they needed to be admitted to hospital at all.

Importantly, the data from your record will not include your name, address or any identifying details other than your NHS number which will be used to link the GP and hospital records and then removed. Data will be held securely at either Imperial College or the University of Oxford, depending on how your GP is involved. We won’t use the data for any other purpose and the final data for analysis will be completely anonymised.

We plan to do data linkage on several thousand people’s records. This is important because we need a large sample to produce an accurate ‘early warning score’ for COVID-19. This will help GPs identify accurately who needs to be sent to hospital and who can safely stay at home.

Either your doctor or nurse should have asked you today whether you are happy for us to do data linkage with your records, or you may have been asked this via a technology platform or ‘chatbot’. You won’t have had much time to think about this, so rest assured: if you change your mind, let us know and we will remove your data from our system and not use it for research. We can also send you more details of the study if you’d like that. Just email or write to the contact below.

We’ll be publishing our results in a few months’ time. The best way to find this will be via the link below. If you can’t access the Internet, write to us and we’ll post you a summary.

We know this is a particularly difficult time so we appreciate you taking the time to consider this request.

The RECAP project patient information sheet contains detailed information about the study and your participation.

For any additional queries, please contact: