Privacy and Cookies

This page explains our privacy policy and how we will use and protect any information about you that you give us when you visit this website.

This privacy statement only covers Department of Health websites. It does not cover all sites that can be linked to from this site, so you should always be aware when you are moving to another site and read the privacy statement on that site.

What information do we collect?

From time to time, you will be asked to submit personal information about yourself ( and email address) in order to receive or use services on our website. Such services include bulletins, email updates, website feedback.

By entering your details in the fields requested you enable the Department of Health and its service providers to provide you with the services you select. Any information you provide tothe Department of Health will only be used by us, our agents and service providers and will not be disclosed unless we are obliged or permitted to by law to do so.

If you post or send offensive, inappropriate or objectionable content anywhere on or otherwise engage in any disruptive behaviour on, we may use whatever information is available to us, about you, to stop such behaviour. We will hold your personal information on our systems for as long as you use the service you have requested, and remove it in the event that the purpose has been met or when you no longer wish to continue your subscription.

The Data Protection Act

Under the Data Protection Act, we have a legal duty to protect any information we collect from you. We use leading technologies and encryption software to safeguard your data, and keep strict security standards to prevent any unauthorised access to it.

Changes to our policy

If our privacy policy changes in any way, we will place an updated version on this page. Regularly reviewing the page ensures you are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it and under what circumstances, if any, we will share it with other parties.

The Department of Health (DH) website contains links to and from websites of government departments and other organisations. This privacy policy applies only to DH.

Following a link to another website

When you go to another website, read the privacy policy on that website if you want to know what it does with your information. DH does not pass on any of your personal information to other websites.

Following a link to DH from another website

When you come to the Department of Health website from another website, DH may get personal information about you from the other website. You should read the privacy policy of websites you visit that link you to DH if you want to know about this.

These policies will explain how they collect and use your personal information, and whether they pass this on to websites they link you to.

Social networking websites

The Department of Health website has buttons at the bottom of website pages so you can use social networking websites (eg Facebook and Twitter) with the DH website. These websites are not controlled by DH. By using these buttons you accept the privacy policies of these websites.

Social bookmarking

Social bookmarks are a way of saving links to web pages that interest you, and sharing those links with other people.

Social bookmarking websites are free to use, but you will need to register with them to start bookmarking.

To use a social bookmarking website, you need to:

  • register with a social bookmarking website
  • find a web page you like
  • save the link to the social bookmarking website, which stores it
  • add words or ‘tags’ to the link to explain what the page is about

You can then visit the social bookmarking website whenever and from wherever you want, and view the bookmarked links you have saved or shared. You will also be able to look at other people’s bookmarks and comments, and they will be able to view yours.

Social bookmarking websites all work in different ways and you may prefer to use one or many. It’s worth having a look at the different websites before you decide which one you want to use. You can register with as many as you like.

The social media and social bookmarking services that DH links to are third party websites. DH does not have any control over the way that these websites use your data.

You should read their respective privacy policies carefully to find out what happens to any data that these services collect when you use them.


Facebook is a social networking website that has millions of users worldwide. You register and create a profile. You can then add friends to your profile and exchange information with your friends. Facebook also allows people to start groups and fan pages as well as bookmarking other web pages.

Go to Facebook  ( Read the Facebook privacy policy )


Twitter is a social networking service. Users send short updates, or mini-blogs (known as tweets), that are no more than 140 characters long. You can collect followers and follow other users. You can also tag words, and search tags to find out what other people are talking about.

Go to Twitter  ( Read the Twitter privacy policy )

Google +

Google social networking service.
Go to Google+  ( Read the Google privacy policy )


A social networking service mainly used by people to stay in touch. LinkedIn is used to exchange information, ideas and opportunities, stay informed about your contacts and industry, find the people & knowledge you need to achieve your goals, and control your professional identity online

Go to LinkedIn ( Read the LinkedIN privacy policy )

On our publication pages we also have social network links to the following:


StumbleUpon is an online community of users who find and rate web pages, photos and videos. You can recommend pages you like and you can follow other users’ recommendations.

Go to StumbleUpon ( Read the StumbleUpon privacy policy )


Delicious is a social bookmarking service that allows you to discover, store and share web pages you find interesting. Users need to tag their bookmarks with relevant words, so that other people looking for similar information can find them.

Go to Delicious ( Read the Delicious privacy policy )


Reddit is a social news service. This means it allows you to add bookmarks to news stories to a social website. Users can vote whether they like or dislike a link, and join in discussions about different bookmarks.

Go to Reddit ( Read the Reddit privacy policy )

Use of cookies

When we provide services, we want to make them easy, useful and reliable. Where services are delivered on the internet, this sometimes involves placing small amounts of information on your device, for example, computer or mobile phone. These include small files known as cookies. They cannot be used to identify you personally.

These pieces of information are used to improve services for you through, for example:

  • enabling a service to recognise your device so you don’t have to give the same information several times during one task
  • recognising that you may already have given a username and password so you don’t need to do it for every web page requested
  • measuring how many people are using services, so they can be made easier to use and there’s enough capacity to ensure they are fast
  • analysing anonymised data to help us understand how people interact with govt services so we can make them better

You can manage these small files and learn more about them from the article, Internet Browser cookies – what they are and how to manage them.

Current cookies

Cookie: Bespoke cookie
Purpose: To remember your selections or preferences that you’ve already made when looking at information or using our service.

Cookies for measuring website usage

Cookie: Speed-trap
Name: dohCSADBID, dohCSAuvt
Purpose: So service is available when you want it and fast, we measure numbers and volumes of visitors.

Cookie: Speed-trap
Name: usy46gabsosd
Purpose: To understand what visitors want to use and not to use, so we can improve the service you receive and archive what is not used
For more information on Speed-trap (now Celebrus) please read their privacy policy

Cookie: Google Analytics
Name:__utma, __utmb, __utmc, __utmd, __utmz,
Purpose: So service is available when you want it and fast, we measure numbers and volumes of visitors.
We do this to make sure we are meeting users’ needs and to understand how we could do it better.

Google Analytics stores information about what pages you visit, how long you are on the site, how you got here and what you click on. We do not collect or store your personal information (e.g. your name or address) so this information cannot be used to identify who you are. We do not allow Google to use or share our analytics data.

Cookie: Google Analytics
Name: _utma, _utmb, _utmc, _utmd, _utmv, _utmz
Purpose: To record how many people are using the DH website and how they move around the site once they’ve arrived:
_utma tracks how many times (if any) you have visited the DH website before.
_utmb and _utmc are connected, and track how long you stay on the site.
_utmd gives us information on how the site was reached (e.g. directly or via a link, organic search or paid search)
_utmv and _utmz identifies where you’ve come from e.g. from a search engine or from another website.
Benefit: So service is available when you want it and fast, we measure numbers and volumes of visitors.

Data stored by cookies: No personal information about you, just information about your computer and your browser.

Duration of cookies:
_utma: Expires 2 years after your last visit to this site.
_utmb: Expires 30 minutes after your visit, or after 30 minutes of inactivity.
_utmc: Expires when you close your browser.
_utmd: Expires 6 months after it was last set.
_utmv: Expires 2 years after it was last set.
_utmz: Expires 6 months after it was last set.

Full details on the cookies set by Google Analytics are published on the Google website. Google also publishes a browser add-on to allow you to choose that information about your website visit is not sent to Google Analytics.
Cookies set by Google Analytics
Google Analytics opt-out browser add-on

Cookie: ReCaptcha
Name: PREF
Purpose: To remember your selections or preferences that you’ve already made when looking at information or using a service. We use this in our email this page functionality.
Duration: expires when you close your session with our website (once you close your browser)

Cookie: ReCaptcha
Name: NID
Purpose: In completing a task, to enable you to complete the task without re-entering information already given. We use this in our email this page functionality.

Cookie: SurveyMonkey
Name: ep201, ep202, TS54026e
Purpose: We sometimes link to online surveys (from our Consultations, for example) created using Survey Monkey. These cookies may be set if you follow one of these links to complete a survey.
Benefit: When we provide links to third party services you find useful, they may place a cookie on your device to make their service easier to use.
Data stored by the cookie: None contains personal information; all data is used in aggregate form.
Duration of cookie: All expire when you close your browser, except ep202, which expires after 366 days.

Cookie: Flickr
Name: localization, b, BX
Flickr is a photo-sharing website. DH has a Flickr account.
Flickr is owned by Yahoo!
Yahoo! cookies policy

Embedded content

We want to provide interesting and engaging content on our website. On a number of pages we use ‘plug ins’ or embedded media. For example, we embed YouTube videos in many pages.

The suppliers of these services may also set cookies on your device when you visit the pages where we have used this type of content. These are known as ‘third-party’ cookies.

Cookie: YouTube
Purpose: To track visitor views of YouTube videos embedded in BIS web pages.
Benefit: When we provide links to third party services you find useful, they may place a cookie on your device to make their service easier to use. YouTube is owned by Google. See Google’s privacy policy.
Data stored by cookie: Unique identifier, no personal information (data is only used in aggregate).
Duration of cookie: Expires after 241 days.

Cookie: YouTube
Name: usy46gabsosd
Purpose: To remember selections or preferences that a user has made when looking at information or using a service.

Cookie: Scribd, slideshare
Name: __qca
Purpose: Analytical cookie that monitors users access pattern.
Duration: 4 yrs 11 months 28 days

Cookie: slideshare
Name: bcookie
Purpose: used by web services to identify a browser
Duration: 11 months 30 days

Cookie: slideshare
Purpose: This cookie is set by slideshare to enable retrieval of the data from the right server.
Duration of cookie: Expires when you close your browser.

Cookie: Google Maps:
Name: NID
Purpose: Enables traffic analysis to Google Maps.
Benefit: When we provide links to third party services you find useful, they may place a cookie on your device to make their service easier to use. See Google’s privacy policy.
Data stored by the cookie: A unique identifier; data only used in aggregate.
Duration of cookie: Expires after 183 days.

How to control and delete cookies

We will not use cookies to collect personally identifiable information about you.

However, if you wish to restrict or block the cookies which are set by our websites, or indeed any other website, you can do this through your browser settings. The ‘Help’ function within your browser should tell you how.

Alternatively, you may wish to visit which contains comprehensive information on how to do this on a wide variety of browsers. You will also find details on how to delete cookies from your machine as well as more general information about cookies.

Please be aware that restricting cookies may impact on the functionality of our website.

If you wish to view your cookie code, just click on a cookie to open it. You’ll see a short string of text and numbers. The numbers are your identification card, which can only be seen by the server that gave you the cookie.

For information on how to do this on the browser of your mobile phone you will need to refer to your handset manual.

To opt-out of third-parties collecting any data regarding your interaction on our website, please refer to their websites for further information.

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