What we record
Your Doctor, nurse and the team of health & care professionals caring for you keep records about your treatment and care both on paper and electronically.
- Personal details such as name, address, date of birth, ethnicity and religion, NHS number and next of kin
- Contact we have with you e.g. hospital admissions, outpatients/clinic appointments and home visits.
- Notes and reports by health and care professionals about your health, GP details etc.
- Details and records about your treatment and care
- Results of x-rays, laboratory tests, and any other tests
- Relevant information about people that care for you and know you well
- Basic details about associated people e.g. children, partners, carers, relatives etc.
How is the information used?
- To provide you with care and treatment, both now and in the future, ensuring that appropriate information is available to all those who treat you medically and care for you professionally
- To ensure your care is safe and effective
- To support you in managing your own care and work with health and care professionals who support you with this
- To look after the health of the general public
- To manage and plan the NHS activities
- To help staff review the care they provide e.g. clinical audit
- Some medical files are needed to teach student clinicians about rare cases. Without such materials, new doctors and nurses would not be properly prepared to treat you.
- To carry out research approved by the local research and ethics committee. (If anything to do with the research would involve you personally, you will be contacted to see if you are willing to take part. You will not be identified in any published results without your agreement)
- Investigate any complaints or legal claims
How we protect your information
Your personal information is safeguarded by the Data Protection Act 1998, and our internal policies.
The sensitivity of patient information is well understood within the NHS (all staff are given training on their duty of confidentiality to you). We keep paper and electronic records securely to prevent unauthorised access in line with current legislation.
Managing the Data
We need to be able to move electronic information between the separate systems that provide information to support your care and the care processes. Data is also extracted and processed to support the operation of the services and monitoring the delivery and management of the services.
When information may be shared and who with
We will only ever share your information if it is in the best interests for your care. We will not disclose any information that identifies you to anyone outside your direct care team without your express permission, unless there are exceptional circumstances such as when there is serious risk of harm to yourself or others or where the law requires it.
Who we may share your information with:
- Other Hospitals
- Ambulance Service
- Social care
You will be asked for your explicit consent for identifiable information to be shared with non-care organisations which will be subject to strict agreement about how it will be used, for example:
- Housing departments
- Education services
- Voluntary services
- Sure Start teams
- The police
- Government departments
There may be circumstances where the reasons for disclosure are so important that they override the obligation of confidentiality (e.g. to prevent someone from being seriously harmed). Disclosure may also be required by Court Order or under an Act of Parliament, i.e. there is a statutory or other legal basis for the disclosure. The advice of specialist staff e.g. Caldicott Guardians are also sought prior to making disclosures in the public interest, or where a Court Order or statutory basis is provided as justification.
Disclosures may be permitted under section 251 of the NHS Act 2006. This allows the Secretary of State for Health to set aside the common law duty of confidentiality in special circumstances. This has to be to improve patient care or in the 'public interest', such as for important medical research.
Applications for approval to use Section 251 powers are considered by the Confidentiality Advisory Group (CAG) who will advise whether there is sufficient justification to access the requested confidential patient information. Examples of this, used in the short-term until other measures can be put in place are, risk stratification and invoice validation.
Please Click Here for information about the Confidentiality Advisory Group
Accessing your information
You have the right of access to your own records as defined in the Data Protection Act 1998 which, with some exceptions, entitles individuals to a copy of information held about them.
If you would like a copy of the information which we hold about you, please contact our Access to Records Bureau.
It will help us if you can state which hospital(s) you attended and the approximate dates and type of treatment for which you want to see the record. You must apply in writing, giving your name, address, date of birth and, if you have it, your NHS number. Say that you are applying for access to your health records. Please allow up to 40 days for us to process your application.
For providing copies of your medical (paper) records, or x-ray films you may be charged a fee, depending on the work involved.
Please Click Here for information about the Access to Records Bureau
Keeping information up to date
If you consider that any part of the information held in your record is inaccurate, you can apply to have this corrected. If we agree that the information is incorrect, the alteration will be made. If we are not satisfied that the information is incorrect, a note will be made of the information you consider is inaccurate. You will be given a copy of either the correction or the note.
You can have a say in how the NHS uses information about you. If you do not wish personal data to be used or shared in the way that is described, please discuss the matter with us. You have the right to request that your confidential information is not used beyond your own care and treatment and to have your objections considered, and, where your wishes cannot be followed, to be told the reasons, including the legal basis.
Mobile Phone Numbers
We record mobile telephone numbers to enable us to contact you if an appointment has to be rearranged. Some services also provide a text reminder service so that you can be reminded of your appointment. If you prefer not to be contacted in this way, please tell us so we can remove your number from the system.
Making a complaint
Making a complaint about the provisioning of Personal Information by the Trust:
If you wish to make a complaint about the service you received when requesting access to your personal information, you are able to make a complaint to the Trust and the Information Commissioner.
The Trust is obligated to investigate any legitimate complaints it receives. If you are a patient of the Trust you can lodge a complaint with our PALS & Complaints department.
If you are not satisfied with the Trust's response to the complaint, or do not want to approach the Trust with a complaint directly, you are able to request an assessment of the Trust with the Information Commissioner. The Commissioner investigates complaints at her own discretion, and usually expects the complainant to exhaust the Trust's own complaints procedure first.
Please Click Here for information PALS & Complaints department
If you remain dissatisfied at the conclusion of any review, you may complain to the Information Commissioner's Office, whose address is:
Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House Water Lane
Cheshire SK9 5AF
Tel: 0303 123 1113
Fax: 01625 524 510
Disability and alternative formats
We have a contract with a company who can provide interpreters, information for blind or deaf patients and patients with learning difficulties.
If you need any assistance with this, please contact us.
Please Click Here for information about Disability and alternative formats
Information Commissioner’s Office
Data Protection Act
National Health Service Act 2006
Confidentiality: NHS Code of Practice
Confidentiality Advisory Group
The NHS Constitution