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Data protection and Freedom of Information Act

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As an eye care provider, it is essential that you keep adequate patient records, comply with the Data Protection legislation and understand your responsibilities under the Freedom of Information Act.

Data protection

The Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into effect on 25 May 2018. With our Optical Confederation partners, we have created guidance to help you understand and comply with data protection law in the UK.

  • Part one covers what you need to know, providing a basic overview of the new data protection rules and what has changed
  • Part two covers what steps you need to take to comply with the new regulations
  • Annexes include an example of record keeping and lawful bases in a typical primary care practice and a summary of an individual's rights.

Read the full data protection guidance

You will also need to register with the Information Commissioner's Office before you process personal data.

Contact [email protected] if you have any questions about DPA or GDPR. We can guide you in the context of primary and secondary eye care provision in the UK.


Freedom of Information Act - model publication scheme


If you provide General Ophthalmic Services (GOS) you need to understand and comply with your obligations under the:

  • Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) - if you are based in England, Northern Ireland or Wales
  • Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) - if you are based in Scotland.

As an NHS GOS provider your organisation is classified as a 'public authority' under FOIA and FOISA. In practical terms this means you are required to have a 'publication scheme' approved by the:

  • UK's Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) if you are based in England, Northern Ireland or Wales
  • Scottish Information Commissioner if you are based in Scotland. 


In practical terms, you must proactively publish certain information related specifically to GOS.

England, Northern Ireland and Wales

The optical sector - FODO, ABDO, AOP and College of Optometrists - has produced the following guidance to help you understand what information to share as part of the model publication scheme:

Learn more


Learn more

More support?

Get in touch [email protected].


Originally published: July 2018

Reviewed: January 2020

Next review date: March 2022

Info: New layout in January 2020.

References and notes

The next review was originally planned for December 2021. This was changed due to prioritising work during the pandemic.