What is the aim of our research?

During the Covid-19 pandemic, research in England has identified certain groups in the population, who have been more adversely affected by Covid-19, both in the risk of infection and the risk of severe illness and death. Individuals in minority ethnic groups and those living in more deprived areas have been identified as at higher risk of Covid-19. The evidence of such patterns in Scotland is limited, but more research is required.

Our research aims to explore the risk of Covid-19 in these groups in the Scottish population. The findings of our research will be used to inform healthcare planning and policy in Scotland.

What data are being used in our research?

Data from several sources are being used in this research, but it mainly uses data from the EAVE II study and from the 2011 Census.

The EAVE II study is being led by researchers at the University of Edinburgh. It aims to uses healthcare data about individuals living in Scotland to develop a better understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on the health of the population. It includes data about GP consultations, hospital admissions, prescriptions and COVID-19 testing.   

Census data will provide information about the individuals included in the data, such as ethnicity and employment status.

More information about the EAVE II study and the data it includes can be accessed on the EAVE II study website.

How are data handled?

The data included in our research will be linked together, which means the Census records and healthcare records for an individual are confidentially combined – giving us more detailed information with which to examine the impact of COVID-19. This linked data will be pseudonymised, which means information that might identify an individual person (such as name, address and date of birth) has been removed.

Although the pseudonymisation process reduces the risk of an individual being identified, there is still personal information in the research data which might allow identification of an individual if the data are not managed appropriately and with adequate protection. To ensure our research data are handled safely, the data will remain within the National Safe Haven, operated by NHS Scotland (eDRIS), where access is tightly controlled. All members of the research team have been trained in using personal data safely.

More information about NHS Safe Havens can be accessed on the NHS Research Scotland website.

Ethical Approval

This research has had approval from NHS Scotland’s and the Scottish Government’s Public Benefit and Privacy Panels.

The EAVE II study has had ethical approval from the National Research Ethics Service Committee, South East Scotland 02.

Privacy Notice for Inequalities in Covid-19 in Scotland

The University of Glasgow will be what’s known as the ‘Data Controller’ of the personal data processed in relation to the Inequalities in Covid-19 in Scotland study. This privacy notice will explain how The University of Glasgow will process personal data.

Why we need it

We are using personal data from the 2011 Census and healthcare data from a national Covid-19 study, the EAVE II project, to investigate the differential impact of Covid-19 between different groups in the Scottish population. We will use data from the Census which describes the social and ethnic background of individuals, and we will use data from healthcare which tells us about the impact of Covid on health. This will include data about hospital admissions and healthcare consultations about Covid-19, as well as results data from Covid-19 testing and data about vaccination.

We will only have access to data necessary to undertake our research. 

Legal basis for processing your data

We must have a legal basis for processing all personal data. In this instance, the legal basis is the performance of a task carried out in the public interest. The use of special category data, which includes ethnicity and health data, is on the legal basis that processing is necessary for scientific or historical research purposes.   

What we do with it and who we share it with

The personal data used in this study will be held securely in the National Safe Haven, which is a secure environment for data processing. All data are pseudonymised, meaning information identifying individuals is removed from the dataset before the researchers have access.

Only researchers from the University of Glasgow and University of Edinburgh team and research colleagues from Scottish Government and Public Health Scotland will have access to the data, through the Safe Haven. Data will not be shared outside of the Safe Haven.

How long do we keep it for

Data will be retained for five years. After this time, data will be deleted by the National Safe Haven in accordance with the NHS Scotland Information Security Policy.

What are your rights?*

You can request access to the information we process about you at any time. If at any point you believe that the information we process relating to you is incorrect, you can request to see this information. You may also have the right to object to the processing of data.

If you wish to exercise these rights, please submit your request via the webform or contact dp@gla.ac.uk.

*Please note that the ability to exercise these rights will vary and depend on the legal basis on which the processing is being carried out and any relevant exemptions which may apply. 


If you wish to raise a complaint on how we have handled your personal data, you can contact the University Data Protection Officer who will investigate the matter.

Our Data Protection Officer can be contacted at dataprotectionofficer@glasgow.ac.uk

If you are not satisfied with our response or believe we are not processing your personal data in accordance with the law, you can complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) https://ico.org.uk/


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