Patients and Visitors
What you need to know
This section explains why information is collected about you and the ways in which this information may be used by South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust
Why we collect information about you
Your doctor and other health professionals caring for you keep records about your health and any treatment and care you receive from the National Health Service.
These help ensure that you receive the best possible care from us. They may be written down (manual records), or held on a computer.
The records may include:
• Basic details about you, such as address and next of kin
• Contacts we have had with you, such as clinic visits
• Notes and reports about your health and any treatment and care you need
• Details and records about the treat-ment and care you receive
• Results of investigations, such as X-rays and laboratory results
• Relevant information from other health professionals, relatives or those who care for you and know you well.
How your records are used to help you
Your records are used to guide and administer the care you receive to ensure:
• Your doctor, nurse or any other healthcare professionals involved in your care have accurate and up to date information to assess your health and decide what care you need when you visit in the future
• Full information is available should you see another doctor, or be referred to a specialist or another part of the NHS
• There is a good basis for assessing the type and quality of care you have received
• Your concerns can be properly investigated if you need to complain.
How your records are used to help the NHS
Your information may also be used to help us:
• Look after the health of the general public
• Audit NHS accounts and services
• Investigate complaints, legal claims or 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.
Some of this information will be held centrally, but where this is used for statistical purposes stringent measures are taken to ensure that you cannot be identified.
Anonymous statistical information may also be passed to organisations with a legitimate interest, including universities, community safety units and research institutions.
Where it is not possible to use anonymised information, personally identifiable information may be used for essential NHS purposes. These may include research and auditing services. This will only be done with your consent, unless the law requires information to be passed on to improve public health.
Where your information may be used to teach and train healthcare professionals, your consent will be obtained before this happens.
How we keep your records Confidential
Everyone working for the NHS has a legal duty to keep information about you confidential.
You may be receiving care from other people as well as the NHS (like Social Services). We may need to share some information about you so we can all work together for your benefit. We will only ever use or pass on information about you if others involved in your care have a genuine need for it.
We will not disclose your information to third parties without your permission unless there are exceptional circumstances, such as when the health or safety of others is at risk or where the law re-quires information to be passed on.
Anyone who receives information from us is also under a legal duty to keep it confidential.
We are required by law to report certain information to the appropriate authorities. 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.
Our guiding principle is that we are holding your records in strict confidence.
Access to your health information is strictly controlled and access is only provided to those staff involved in providing you with care, or where there is a legitimate need.
Overall responsibility for controlling access to confidential information lies with the Trust Caldicott Guardian.
Who are our partner organisations
The principle partner organisations, with whom information may be shared:
• Other NHS Trusts
• Clinical Commissioning Groups
• General Practitioners (GPs)
• Ambulance Services
Your information may also, subject to strict agreements describing how it will be used, be shared with:
• Social Services
• Education Services
• Local Authorities
• Voluntary Sector Providers
• Private sector providers
Information may also be shared in an anonymised form with some central agencies such as the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) and Department Of Health.
How can you get access to your health records
Under the Data Protection Act 1998 you have a legal right to apply for access to health information held about you. Your request for access MUST be in writing and you will need to provide identifying information.
A health record contains information about your health recorded by a health care professional as part of your care. It can contain notes, letters, results, x-rays etc. You do not have to give a reason to gain access to records about your care. You will be charged a fee for access which will be a minimum of £10 and may be up to £50 depending on the size of your record.
Can you request access to another persons health record on their behalf
Under the Data Protection Act 1998 you can apply to access someone else's health records if you are authorised to do so. You must have consent from the patient, have legal authority i.e. Power of Attorney or legal basis for access. Proof of authorisation must be submitted with the request.
Can you request access to the records of a deceased person
Under the terms of the Access to Health Records Act 1990 you will only be able to access a deceased persons health records if you are the personal representative, the Executor or someone who has a claim arising from the death. Proof must be submitted with the request.
For further information or to request access to your records please contact
Healthcare Records Manager
Medical Records Department
South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust
South Tyneside District Hospital