Security of information
Confidentiality affects everyone: About Health collects, stores and uses personal data every day, such as medical records, personal records and computerised information. This data is used by many people in the course of their work.
We take our duty to protect your personal information and confidentiality very seriously and we are committed to taking all reasonable measures to ensure the confidentiality and security of personal data for which we are responsible, whether computerised or on paper.
At Board level, we have appointed a Senior Information Risk Owner who is accountable for the management of all information assets and any associated risks and incidents, and a Caldicott Guardian who is responsible for the management of patient information and patient confidentiality.
Why do we collect information about you?
The doctors, nurses and team of healthcare professionals caring for you keep records about your health and any treatment and care you receive from the NHS. These records help to ensure that you receive the best possible care. They may be written down in paper records or held on computer. These records may include:
- Basic details about you such as name, address, date of birth, next of kin, etc
- Contact we have had with you such as appointments or clinic visits
- Notes and reports about your health, treatment and care
- Results of tests
- Relevant information from people who care for you and know you well such as health professionals and relatives
It is essential that your details are accurate and up to date. Always check that your personal details are correct when you visit us and please inform us of any changes as soon as possible.
How your personal information is used
Your records are used to direct, manage and deliver the care you receive to ensure that:
- The doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals involved in your care have accurate and up to date information to assess your health and decide on the most appropriate care for you.
- Healthcare professionals have the information they need to be able to assess and improve the quality and type of care you receive.
- Your concerns can be properly investigated if a complaint is raised.
- Appropriate information is available if you see another doctor, or are referred to a specialist or another part of the NHS.
The NHS Care Record Guarantee
The Care Record Guarantee is our commitment that we will use records about you in ways that respect your rights and promote your health and wellbeing. Copies of the full document can be obtained from:
Who do we share personal information with?
Everyone working within the NHS has a legal duty to keep information about you confidential. Similarly, anyone who receives information from us has a legal duty to keep it confidential.
We will share information with the following main partner organisations:
- NHS Trusts and hospitals that are involved in your care
- Clinical Commissioning Groups and other NHS bodies
- General Practitioners (GPs)
- Ambulance Services
You may be receiving care from other people as well as the NHS, for example Social Care Services. We may need to share some information about you with them so we can all work together for your benefit if they have a genuine need for it or we have your permission. Therefore, we may also share your information, subject to strict agreement about how it will be used, with:
- Social Care Services
- Education Services
- Local Authorities
- Voluntary and private sector providers working with the NHS
We will not disclose your information to any other third parties without your permission unless there are exceptional circumstances, such as if the health and safety of others is at risk or if the law requires us to pass on information.
Disclosure of information
You have the right to restrict how and with whom we share the personal information in your records that identifies you. This must be noted explicitly within your records in order that all healthcare professionals and staff treating and involved with you are aware of your decision. By choosing this option, it may make the provision of treatment or care more difficult or unavailable. You can also change your mind at any time about a disclosure decision.
How your personal information is used to improve the NHS
Your information will also be used to help us manage the NHS and protect the health of the public by being used to:
- Review the care we provide to ensure it is of the highest standard and quality
- Ensure our services can meet patient needs in the future
- Investigate patient queries, complaints and legal claims
- Ensure we receive payment for the care you receive
- Prepare statistics on NHS performance
- Audit accounts and services
- Undertake heath research and development (with your consent – you may choose whether or not to be involved)
- Help to train and educate healthcare professionals.
How you can access your records
The Data Protection Act 1998 gives you a right to access the information we hold about you on our records. Requests must be made in writing to our Administration Centre. We will provide your information to you 40 calendar days from receipt of:
- A completed application form, containing adequate supporting information (such as your full name, address, date of birth, NHS number, etc.) to enable us to verify your identity and locate your records
- A cheque for an initial £10 (rising to a maximum of £50 for health records) made payable to About Health Ltd
- An indication of what information you are requesting to enable us to locate it in an efficient manner
If you think any information is inaccurate or incorrect, please let us know.
The Data controller responsible for keeping your information confidential is:
Blackbrook Park Avenue
Telephone: 020 7129 8898
The Data Protection Act 1998 requires organisations to lodge a notification with the Information Commissioner to describe the purposes for which they process personal information. These details are publicly available from:
Information Commissioner’s Office
Telephone: 08456 306060