This page explains:
- Why the NHS collects information about you and how it is used
- How we keep your records confidential
- Your right to have access to your health records
Why we collect information about you
Your Doctor and the team of health professionals caring for you keep records about your health and any treatment and care you receive from the NHS.
These records help to ensure that you receive the best possible care. They may be written down in paper records or stored electronically on a computer.
These records may include:
- Basic details about you, for example, Name, Address, Date of Birth, and your Legal Representative
- Contact we have with you such as clinic visits
- Notes and reports about your health
- Details and records about your treatment and care
- Results of X-rays, laboratory tests and any other tests
- Relevant information from people who care for you and know you well such as health professionals and relatives
It is essential that we have your correct details to ensure the appropriate care and treatment is provided to you. Please inform us if your details change.
Some of this information will be held centrally to be used for statistical purposes. In these instances, we take strict confidential measures to ensure that individual patients cannot be identified.
For essential NHS purposes such as audit and teaching we use anonymous information when possible. This means using information without your name or any identifying features.
If you are involved with a research project or your information is used for non-medical purposes, you will be asked for consent before your information is used.
Personal information will only be disclosed without consent when it is required by law or court order and where the Trust is required to pass on information to improve public health.
How your records are used
Your records are used to guide and administer the care you receive to ensure that:
Your Doctor, nurse or other health professional involved in your care have accurate and up-to-date information to assess the care that you need.
There is a good information base for health professionals to assess the type and quality of care you have received. Your concerns can be properly investigated if a complaint is raised.
Appropriate information is available if you see another Doctor, are referred to a specialist or another part of the NHS
Disclosure of Information
You do have the right to restrict disclosure of your personal information. This must be noted explicitly within your health record in order that all health professionals treating you are aware of your decision. By choosing this option, it may make the provision of care or treatment you receive more difficult or unavailable and we will fully inform you of this.
However, it is ultimately your decision to agree to disclose your information or not. You can also change your mind at any time about a disclosure decision.
How you can access your health records
Under the Data Protection Act 1998, you have the right to request access to your health record either recorded on paper or electronically. Please note the following if you wish to request access to your health record:
A request must be in writing and you will need to give adequate information (for example, full name, address, telephone number, date of birth, NHS number) so that your identity can be verified and your health records located.
There is a charge for access to records which are as follows:
- Computerised records £10
- Paper records £42 admin fee plus photocopying charges (50 pence per copy)
- Paper + computerised £42 admin fee plus photocopying charges (50 pence per copy)
- Invoices will not exceed £50.
We are required to respond to you within 40 working days
If there is anything incorrect in your records when you receive a copy or view them, please let us know. For more information regarding access to health records, please contact:
How your records are used to help others
Your information may also be used to help us in the following ways:
- To help protect the health of the public
- To help us manage the NHS, by being used to:
- make sure our services can meet patients’ needs
- book appointments for your ongoing care and treatment
- review and audit the care we provide to ensure it is of the highest standards
- prepare statistics on NHS performance
- investigate complaints and legal claims
The following will be with your consent:
- To help in health research and development
- To help teach healthcare professionals
Copying Letters to Patients
You now have the right to a copy of any letter written about you from one healthcare professional to another. If you would like to receive a copy of your letter inform the doctor during your appointment.
Our guiding principle is that we are holding your records in strict confidence.
How we keep you information confidential
Everyone working for the NHS has a legal duty and obligation to keep information about you confidential and secure.
You may be receiving care from other people as well as the NHS (e.g. Adult Services). We may need to share information about you with them so we can all work together for your benefit. We will only ever pass information about you if:
- They have a genuine need for it
- We have your consent
We will not disclose your information to a third party without your consent unless there are exceptional circumstances, such as when the health and safety of others is at risk or if the law requires us to pass on information.
Anyone who receives information from us has a legal duty to keep it confidential and secure at all times.
Who are our partner organisations?
We may share information with the following partner organisations:
- Department of Health
- Other NHS Trusts
- General Practitioners (GPs)
- Ambulance Services
We may also share your information, subject to strict agreement about how it will be used or with your consent, with:
- Adult Services
- Children and Young People’s Services
- Local Authorities
- Voluntary Sector Providers
- Private Sectors Providers
The Data Protection Act 1998 requires organisations to lodge a notification with the Information Commissioner to describe the purposes for which they process information.
The details are publicly available from the Information Commissioner’s office at:
Information Commissioner’s Office
Telephone: 01625 545745
Fax: 01625 524510
Alternatively see the Information Commissioner’s website on the Internet:
Complaints about use of your information or any other related matter should be made to the Trust Complaints Department. If this does not resolve the matter, a complaint can be made under the NHS Complaints Procedure.
If a patient follows this procedure and is dissatisfied with the outcome of the investigation, they have the right to take their complaint to the Health Service Ombudsman or, as a last resort, to court.
Alternatively, a person has the right to complain to the Information Commissioner, formerly the Data Protection Commissioner at Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.
Tel 01625 545700.
Please note that the Department of Health is not able to deal with individual cases or complaints. These are best dealt with locally or through the above channels
Freedom of Information Act 2000
If you would like any information about the Trust which is not personal data, please ask a member of staff, visit our website or write to us.
Protecting Your Data – PALS-Patient Advice and Liaison service
The Pals are able to provide ‘on the spot’ help and advice to patients, carers, friends and families. We will listen to you and provide you with relevant information and support to help resolve any concerns or problems you may have, that you do not wish to discuss with a member of staff, as quickly and efficiently and confidentially as possible.