Your doctor and other health professionals caring for you keep records about your health and any treatment and care you receive from the NHS. This helps to ensure that you receive the best possible care.
Why we collect information about you and how it’s used
The record may be written down (manual records) or held on a computer (electronic record). The records may include:
- basic details about you, such as address and next of kin
- contacts we have had with you, such as clinic visits
- notes and reports about your health and any treatment and care you have received
- details and records about the treatment and care you receive
- results of any investigations, such as X-rays and laboratory tests
- relevant information from other health professionals or those who care for you and know you well
- information, as a patient, you may have supplied us with
- your equality and diversity information
How your information could be used
Some information will be used for statistical purposes. We take strict measures to ensure that you cannot be identified.
People who have access to your personal information use it to:
- provide a good basis for all health and social care support decisions
- make sure your health and social care is safe and effective
- work effectively with others to provide you with health and social care
Others may also need to use records to:
- check the quality of care (such as a health record audit)
- protect the health of the general public
- keep track of NHS spending
- manage the health service
- help investigate any concerns or complaints you or your family have about your health and social care
- teach healthcare professionals
- help with research
Sometimes it might be necessary to transfer personal information overseas. Any transfers will be made in compliance with data protection requirements.
Sharing your information
We will not share personal information that identifies you (particularly with other government agencies) for any reason other than providing your health and social care unless:
- you ask us to do so
- we ask and you give us specific permission
- it is for direct care purpose
- we have to do so by law
- we have special permission for health and/or research purposes
- we have special permission because it is in the public interest
You can decide:
- not to share your health information
- to share your health information with others providing you with care
- to add information to your record that you would like included
You should discuss the implications of choosing not to share your record with a clinician but be reassured that we will continue to provide you with safe, efficient care. You can also change your mind at any time. Please contact us if you don’t want to share your information.
Your right to confidentiality
You have the right:
- to confidentiality under the Data Protection Act 2018, the Human Rights Act 1998, the NHS Constitution and the common law duty of confidentiality
- to ask for a copy of all records about you held in paper or electronic form
- to choose someone to make decisions about your healthcare if you become unable to do so
We have a duty to:
- maintain full and accurate records of the care we provide to you
- keep records about you confidential, secure and accurate
- provide information in a format that is accessible to you. For example, in large type if you are partially sighted
Your right to see your personal information
When we receive a request from you in writing, we must normally give you access to everything we hold about you. We may not give you confidential information about other people or information that a healthcare professional considers likely to cause serious harm to the physical or mental health of you or someone else.
We will provide other ways for you to apply for your records if you cannot do so in writing.
How can you help us share your information?
Allow us to share as much information about you as we need to provide you with healthcare. Help us to make sure that we have identified you correctly by telling us if any information in your record is wrong.