Your local health and care services are working more closely together to provide a joined-up service to meet your needs.
Working together improves the quality of care because the clinicians and other professionals involved in your treatment have the best information on which to base their decisions.
It removes the need for you to repeat your story to different clinicians, thereby saving you time and frustration. It also makes the services themselves more efficient.
In order to achieve this goal, it is important that clinicians and other health and care professionals involved in a person’s care are able to view the relevant records as and when appropriate.
Anonymised treatment data is also used to help monitor and improve the quality of the services you receive.
There are very strict rules to control how and when records are used and they lay out what your rights are as part of this process.
Our legal reason for collecting your information
We have a public duty to care for patients. Under data protection legislation, organisations process information which is necessary to provide the health and social care treatment to patients, as well as the management of health or social care systems and services.
If we need to use your personal information for any reason beyond those stated above, we will discuss this with you. You have the right to ask us to not use your information, however there might be times when we still have to share your information to ensure your care is appropriate and effective; if this is the case, we will discuss this with you.
What records do we hold?
- Basic details such as address, date of birth, next of kin/emergency contact details, ethnicity, disability or language preferences.
- Inpatient and outpatient visit details, visits to the Emergency Department and contact with other organisations.
- Details and records about the treatment and care you have received. Letters related to your healthcare will be sent to your GP and a copy will be placed in your manual and electronic record.
- Results of x-rays and tests.
What are your records used for?
To produce a record of all health and care decisions made about you and the care provided to you. This may be used by clinical, support workers or administrative staff, as appropriate.
Where appropriate, information about your care will be securely shared with other organisations to enable continuation/support of your care e.g. other NHS hospitals, hospices, community services, your GP and Social Services.
Your records are also used to improve the quality of care provided, through a process of clinical audits.
In instances of concerns or complaints being raised by you or your family, your records will be shared with the relevant legal and/or complaints team for the purposes of investigation.
A coded (anonymised) version of your treatment details can also be used to monitor performance within a particular health service provider organisation. This is to ensure that health services are being managed in line with targets and contractual obligations.
Sharing your information with NHS/External Organisations
We will share your information with other organisations, to assist with giving you the best care possible. Where we share your information with these organisations, they are subject to strict information sharing protocols. Anyone who receives information from us has a legal duty to keep it confidential and secure. Only information that is required and appropriate to support your care and treatment will be provided.
Where we share your information with other organisations that do not form part of your care, permission from yourself will be sought before sending the information unless we have a legal obligation to provide the information, or we have to because the interest of the public is thought to be of greater importance.
There are occasions where we have a legal duty to pass patient information to external organisations which operate to oversee and address issues relating to the management of the NHS as a whole.
Under the Data Protection Act 2018 health and care services have a legal basis for processing patient information where it is necessary to provide effective services without consent, for example to specialists consulting with each other about your care needs.
You have the right to object to the processing of your information for purposes other than direct care e.g. performance management of services, external clinical audits.
The NHS has implemented a National Opt-Out Programme, whereby patients have the right to opt-out of their information being used for reasons other than the patient’s individual care and treatment such as, planning and research purposes to help improve the care, treatment and quality of NHS services.
We have a legal obligation to store your health and care information. The length of time we will store your information is set out by the Department of Health & Social Care.
NHS and social care staff operate under very strict data protection rules and are trained to handle your information correctly to protect your privacy. Information is held for specified periods of time.
Health and care records are held on paper and electronically and we have a legal duty to keep these confidential, accurate and secure at all times in line with data protection legislation.
No individual information is shared outside the local health and care system. Your information is never collected for direct marketing purposes, and is not sold on to any other third parties.
Under data protection legislation, individuals have the right to obtain a copy of their own information. They will need to contact the relevant organisation and provide certain personal details and supporting evidence to do this.
To find out more visit https://www.nhs.uk/your-nhs-data-matters/