The Information we Hold About You

Why we collect information about you

Your doctor and other health professionals caring for you need to collect, hold, and use information about you. We call this information your ‘health record’. Your health record contains information about you, your health, and the treatment and care you receive from the NHS and other care providers. These records help us ensure we give you the best possible care. We may write down your records (paper records) or hold them on a computer. Access to your electronic record is controlled, so that only the information needed for a person to do their job is made available.

The records may include:

  • basic details about you;
  • contacts we have had with you, such as GP consultations
  • health notes, reports or care needed;
  • details and records about your treatment and care;
  • test results such as X-ray, electrocardiograms (ECG) and laboratory tests;
  • relevant information from other health professionals, relatives, or those who care for you;
  • Registers of Carers (with consent) so that carers can be given the healthcare they need;
  • information received from agencies such as the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).

How we use your records to help you

Your records are used to guide and administer the care you receive to ensure:

  • your doctor, nurse, or any other healthcare professionals or admin staff have accurate and up-to-date information to assess your health and decide what care you need when you visit in the future;
  • full relevant information is available should you see another doctor, or be referred to a specialist or another part of the NHS or elsewhere;
  • we can carry out assessments of the conditions you are at risk of having;
  • we can determine how we may prevent conditions you are at risk of having;
  • we have a good basis for assessing the type and quality care you have received;
  • we can investigate any complaints properly;
  • care is effectively commissioned for you and for others.

How your records are used to help the NHS

Your information may also be used to help us:

  • look after the health of the general public;
  • allocate funding for the care provided to you by your GP and others;
  • audit NHS accounts and services and investigate complaints, or legal claims when things go wrong;
  • carry out risk assessments to help us understand and prioritise healthcare need for you and others;
  • ensure our services can meet patient needs in the future;
  • prepare statistics on NHS performance
  • review the care we provide to ensure it is of the highest standard;
  • evaluate the quality of care and future care requirements for the purposes of commissioning future health and social care;
  • teach and train healthcare professionals.

How we respect your confidentiality

Everyone working for the NHS must respect your confidentiality. If you receive care from another organisation (such as social services) we may need to share some information about you, so we can all work together for your benefit. This can also mean that you do not have to give the same information repeatedly.
We will only ever share information about you with others who have a genuine need for it. We will not disclose your information to third parties who are not directly involved in providing your care without your permission, unless there are exceptional circumstances (such as when the health or safety of others is at risk, or when the law requires information to be passed on).
Anyone who gets information from us must keep it confidential.
We are required by law to report certain information to the appropriate authorities. This is only provided after formal permission has been given by a qualified health professional whose job it is to give such permission. Occasions when we must pass on information include:

  • where an infectious disease may put others at risk, such as meningitis or measles (but not HIV/AIDS);
  • notification of births and deaths;
  • where a court order has been issued instructing us to do so;
  • for child and adult safeguarding purposes to protect vulnerable individuals;
  • for social security and benefits purposes as defined by the law;
  • for certain public health purposes, such as cancer screening programmes.

Who are our partners?

The main partners’ GP Practices share information with other NHS organisations, such as hospitals, other primary care health workers, community nurses, health visitors, and ambulance services. Your information may also be shared, subject to strict agreements, with social services, education services and voluntary or private providers of care services.

How can you get access to your own health records

You have a legal right to know what information is held about you. This is known as ‘right of subject access’. It applies to your health record. If you want to see your health records, please make a written request at the centre where you are being treated. You are entitled to receive a copy of your records. You should also be aware that in certain circumstances your right to see some detail in your health records may be limited in your own interest, to protect third parties, or for other reasons.

Further information

If you would like to know more about how we use your information, or if you do not wish to have your information used in any of the ways described in the leaflet, please speak to the manager of the centre where you are being treated. If you would like a large printable version or a translation of this leaflet in a foreign language, please contact the manager where you are being treated.