Technically this bit is known as a fair processing notice. Basically it tells you what information we share with others in the NHS to help improve your care.
Your doctor and other health professionals caring for you keep records about your health and any treatment and care you receive from the National Health Service. These help ensure that you receive the best possible care from us. They may be written down (manual records), or held on a computer. 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 need details and records about the treatment and care you receive
- results of investigations, such as X-rays and laboratory tests
- relevant information from other health professionals, relatives or those who care for you and know you well.
How your records are used 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 involved in your care have accurate and up-to date information to assess your health and decide what care you need
- when you visit in the future, full information is available should you see another doctor, or be referred to a specialist or another part of the NHS,
- there is a good basis for assessing the type and quality of care you have received,
- your concerns can be properly investigated if you need to complain.
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,
- pay your GP and hospital for the care they provide,
- audit NHS accounts and services ,
- investigate complaints, legal claims or untoward incidents ,
- make sure 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,
- teach and train healthcare professionals,
- conduct health research and development.
Some of this information will beheld centrally, but where this is used for statistical purposes stringent measures are taken to ensure that individual patients cannot be identified.
Where it is not possible to use anonymised information, personally identifiable information may be used for essential NHS purposes. These may include research and auditing services. This will only be done with your consent, unless the law requires information to be passed on to improve public health.
How we keep your records confidential
Every one working for the NHS has a legal duty to keep information about you confidential. You may be receiving care from other organisations as well as the NHS (like Social Services). We may need to share some information about you so we can all work together for your benefit. We will only ever use or pass on information about you if others involved in your care have a genuine need for it. We will not disclose your information to third parties without your permission unless there are exceptional circumstances, such as when the health or safety of others is at risk or where the law requires information to be passed on.
Anyone who receives information from us is also under a legal duty to 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.Occasions when we must pass on information include:
- notification of new births,
- where we encounter infectious diseases which may endanger the safety of others, such as meningitis or measles (but not HIV/AIDS),
- where a formal court order has been issued,
Our guiding principle is that we are holding your records in strict confidence.
Organisations with whom we may share information are known as partner organisations. The principal partner organisations, with whom information may be shared include:
- NHS Trusts[eg hospital, community trusts providing nursing or mental health services]
- PrimaryCare Trusts or their replacement Commissioning groups [from April 2013].
- Other General Practitioners
- VoluntarySector Providers
How you can see your own medical records.
The Data Protection Act 1998 [DPA] allows you to find out what information about you is held on computer and in certain manual records. This is known as “right of subject access.” It applies to your health records. You may ask to view your records or obtain copies of them.
If you wish to view your records you should make a written request to the NHS organisations where you are being, or have been, treated. For access to your medical records at the surgery you should apply to the Practice Manager, Ashley Porter.
Before access to your records can be allowed we will need to confirm that the application is genuine ; we will require evidence of your identity before complying with a request. We would normally wish to see your passport or driving licence plus a copy of a current utility bill proving residence.
Under the DPA you may choose a representative who may have access to your records. If you wish your representative to have access they will have to sign a declaration that they act with your consent and must provide evidence of identity as above.
You are entitled to receive a copy of your records but should note that a charge will usually be made. You should also be aware that in certain circumstances your right to see some details in your health records may be limited in your own interest or for other reasons.
If you would like to know more about how we use your information or if, for any reason, you do not wish to have your information used in any of the ways described in this leaflet please speak to the health professionals concerned with your care or the Data Protection Officer of the NHS organisation where you are being treated. Full details of the NHS Care Record Guarantee can be found HERE.