Taking Care Of Information About You

Your Rights, Our Responsibilities

Medical Information and The Data Protection Act 1998

It is not possible to provide the best possible standards of health care without keeping information about you. This will include your name, address, date of birth and next of kin and details of your medical history. This information is held solely for the purposes of caring for your health. The records are stored both on paper and computer, and may take other forms such as x-ray photographs.

We have a legal responsibility to keep confidential all of the information held about you. The obligations that the NHS has, together with the rights that every individual enjoys, are set out in the Data Protection Act 1998.

Information about you may need to be shared with others involved in your care from time to time - for example, with a hospital consultant or a district nurse. The sharing of medical information is specifically covered by the Act. It says that the sharing of sensitive, patient-related information is permissible for 'Medical Purposes' provided that it is processed by:

  • A health professional ie GP, nurse, health visitor
  • A person who, though not a health professional, has responsibility to preserve confidentiality

This condition will always be met by our services.

To help improve the standards of health care, information from your records may also be used for research and statistical analysis. In the Data Protection Act 1998 'Medical Purposes' is defined to include 'preventative medicine, medical diagnosis, medical research, the provision of care and treatment and the management of healthcare services'.

Some research studies involve interviews and questionnaires; in these cases you will be approached to see if you'd like to take part. Before making a decision to participate you should be made aware if all or part of the information is going to be anonymised. Wherever possible, information used for such purposes will be anonymised so that it is not possible to identify the patient to whom it relates.

You do have the right to prevent processing and sharing of your information. However, the professionals involved in your care may encounter difficulties and delays if they are unable to share important health information.

Your Rights

The Data Protection Act 1998 gives every individual a number of rights. In brief, you have the right to:

  • Access information held about you (you may be charged for this service)
  • Prevent processing of information likely to cause distress
  • Prevent use of information about you for direct marketing
  • Correct an inaccurate record
  • Seek compensation if you suffer damage
  • Have an assessment made if you think the Act has been contravened.

We undertake to respect these rights.

Our Obligations

The Data Protection Act 1998 imposes a number of obligations on our services. In brief, these are:

  • Information about you will be processed fairly and lawfully
  • Information will be used solely for planning and delivering your health care and will not be used in an inappropriate way
  • The information recorded about you will be adequate and relevant, but not excessive
  • The information will be accurate and up to date
  • Information will be kept no longer than necessary
  • All of the information will be processed within the service in accordance with your rights
  • We will take all necessary measures to prevent unlawful processing, accidental loss, damage or
  • Information will not be transferred to a country outside of the European Economic Area, unless the country provides adequate protection of your rights as regards the processing of information

We undertake to fulfil these obligations.

Further Information

Should you need any further information about the application of the Data Protection Act 1998 within this service, please make an appointment at reception to see the business manager.