Protecting you and your information
Why the NHS collects information about you
Health professionals, who deal with your healthcare such as doctors, community nurses, dentists and pharmacists, need to record information about your health and the care you are receiving from the NHS. This ensures that the people who provide and support your care:
- Are able to work with you to make that care safe and effective
- Have accurate and up to date information about your health
- Help investigate any concerns or complaints you or your family may have about your healthcare
Type of Information held by the NHS:
- Personal details about you, for example name, address and postcode
- Information about your health, treatments and care
How we respect your confidentiality
By law everyone working for or on behalf of the NHS must respect your confidentiality and keep all information about you secure. The NHS understands just how sensitive your information is to you, so all staff are provided with training on information security and confidentiality.
It may be necessary to share information about you with other professionals such as the police or social services, to ensure your healthcare and safety is maintained. In these circumstances, we will ask you before we share this information.
Sometimes we a legal duty to share information about people without asking you, for example:
- Births of children
- Reporting some infectious diseases
- Reporting gunshot wounds to the police
- Because a court orders us to do so
If very rare situations, information may be shared without asking you when the public good is thought to be of greater importance than your confidentiality, for example
- When a serious crime has been committed
- When there are serious risks to the public or NHS staff
- To protect children
Your rights of access to your information
You or someone lawfully acting on your behalf is legally entitled, to inspect or request a copy of information an organisation holds about you. There may be an administration charge for this, but this will be confirmed with you before hand.
If you wish to see information about you then please ask the doctor, nurse or healthcare professional looking after you. An appointment may be made for a member of medical staff to explain any part of the record with you.
If you wish to obtain a copy of your information then please see our accessing your information page.
How you can help
Each NHS organisation you come into contact with needs to keep your personal details up to date, you can help the NHS to do this by:
- Always giving your full first name and last name, full address and postcode and confirm any particular spelling
- Always advise the NHS of any changes to your contact details, for example your name, address or telephone number
For more information, you can visit our how we use your information page.