How we use your information
Records and information are needed to guide our staff in delivering the care that they provide. All our staff are trained to look after personal information as required by the Data Protection Act 1998, the Human Rights Act 1998 and the common law duty of confidentiality. Staff are also required to follow the policies and procedures of the Trust, the NHS Confidentiality Code of Practice and where appropriate, professional codes of conduct.
There are times when we may need to share your information to enable health and social care services to work together to provide care. Information will only be shared if there is a real need for this to take place. The main organisations with which information may be shared include:
- General Practitioners
- other NHS hospitals and services
- Adult Social Care Services
- Children’s Social Service
- Ambulance services
Information may also be shared with other organisations, for instance private sector healthcare providers or voluntary sector services. The sharing of information with these services is governed by strict agreements setting out how it will be shared and used.
Anyone who receives information about you is also under a legal duty to keep it confidential.
Information is used more generally to help develop and improve services in the following ways:
- to help plan future services to review the standards of care provided
- to teach and train doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals
- to measure the performance of services
- to improve our services, for instance the ‘Friends and Family’ test
- to carry out health research and development
- to investigate complaints or incidents
- to assess the needs of the general population
If we share personal information about you we have to do this in a way which complies with the Data Protection Act and the NHS Code of Practice on Confidentiality.
Where it is not possible to use anonymous information, personally identifiable information may be used for essential NHS purposes. When used for research and auditing services, this will only be done with your explicit consent beforehand.
We never pass personal information to insurance companies or legal companies unless we have your explicit authority to do so (or that of your representative).
Anonymous statistical information may at times be passed to organisations involved in the planning and development of health and social care services, such as universities and government departments.
What happens if you don't want your information to be shared?
Write to us and specify if there is any personal information you wish to be withheld. Your views will be recorded in your care record.
This view will be respected unless there are overriding considerations, for instance, special permission may also be given when the public good is thought to be of greater importance than your confidentiality. This might happen when a serious crime has been committed, where there are serious risks to the public or our staff, or in the protection of children.
If you decide that there is personal information that you do not wish to be shared with another organisation then this may affect the provision of services to you from that organisation.
Access to health records
The Data Protection Act 1998 entitles you to access information about you that is held on computer and in manual records. To access your health records, a written request should be made to the Trust.
How to report concerns about confidentiality
The Trust takes the need to protect your personal information very seriously. If you feel that your confidentiality has been breached then you should raise your concerns through the Trust complaints procedure.
This can be done by contacting the Patient Relations Manager, Patient Relations Department, Westmorland General Hospital, Burton Road, Kendal, LA9 7RG
Advice and support can be provided by the Patient Relations Team which can be contacted as follows: 01539 716621
“We keep information relating to your health so that we can provide you with safe, effective care.”
For further information about the way information is used within UHMB, please contact the Patient Relations Team.
Data Protection Act 1998 HMSO
NHS Code of Practice on Confidentiality, Department of Health 2003
The Care Record Guarantee – The Department of Health’s guarantee for NHS care records in England