Your information and how we keep it confidential
We ask you for information about yourself so that you can receive proper care and treatment. It is very important that the information you give us is accurate and up to date. We keep this information safely, together with details of your care. Everyone working for the NHS has a legal duty to keep information about you confidential.
However, you may be receiving care from other people as well as the NHS (like Social Services). So that we can all work together for your benefit we may need to share some information about you.
Circumstances when we disclose your information
We will not disclose your information to third parties without your permission unless there are exceptional circumstances such as if 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. Whenever we can we shall remove details which identify you.
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
How we may use your information
Your information may also be used to help us:
- Look after the health of the general public
- Pay your GP, Dentist and Hospital for the care they provide
- Audit NHS accounts and services
- Investigate complaints and 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
Finding out more about your information
The Data Protection Act 1998 allows you to find out what information is held about you on computer and in certain manual records. This is known as “right of subject access” It applies to your health records. If you want to see them you should make a formal request to the Health Records Department. You can also obtain a copy of your records but a charge will usually be made for this. You should also be aware that in certain circumstances your right to see some of the details in your health records may be limited in your own interest or for other reasons.
The Caldicott Guardian
A Caldicott Guardian is a senior person responsible for protecting the confidentiality of patient and service-user information and enabling appropriate information-sharing. Each NHS organisation is required to have a Caldicott Guardian.
The Guardian plays a key role in ensuring that NHS, Councils with Social Services Responsibilities and partner organisations satisfy the highest practical standards for handling patient identifiable information. Acting as the 'conscience' of an organisation, the Guardian actively supports work to enable information sharing where it is appropriate to share, and advises on options for lawful and ethical processing of information.
This role is particularly important in relation to the implementation of the National Programme for IT and the development of Electronic Social Care Records and Common Assessment Frameworks.
The Caldicott Guardian Trust Board lead for Wye Valley NHS Trust is Dr Charles Ashton. medical director, contactable on 01432 364000.
Armed Forces Covenant
The Armed Forces Convenant is about fair treatment. For most of the Armed Forces community, the Covenant is about removing disadvantage; so that they get the same access to services as the civilian community. The Armed Forces Covenant sets out the relationship between the nation, the government and the Armed Forces. It recognises that the whole nation has a moral obligation to members of the Armed Forces and their families, and it establishes how they should expect to be treated. Click here to access the Trust's committment to honour the Armed Forces Convenant.
If you would like to know more about how we use your information or if for any reason, you do not wish your information used in any of the ways described, please speak to the health professionals concerned with your care, the Data Protection Officer, or the Caldicott Guardian.
For a quick guide which explains why information about you is collected, how we keep it secure and confidential, how your information may be used and how you may gain access to your own records, follow this link.