Confidentiality (privacy notice)
In respect of how we support our community based practitioners and support staff to maintain contact with patients during the Covid-19 pandemic, we have reviewed our policy on use of instant messaging services.
Following this review the IG & IT services are recommending “WhatsApp” as a first choice tool.
This is due to the flexibility of the tool in that it allows voice, text and video communication.
Full guidance for staff and our patients will be provided and must be followed to ensure the Trust maintains compliance with GDPR during this period.
We are also exploring other tools and further guidance will be issued in due course.
Why does the Trust need my personal information and what is it used for?
Our services need certain information about you to provide your care. It may be written or held on a computer. The information can include:
• Your name, address, telephone number and date of birth
• Your health conditions
• Any medicines you are currently taking
NHS staff use your information to give you the care and treatment you need. They will share information with other NHS staff involved in your care, including your GP. This makes caring for you safer, easier and faster. Your telephone number may also be used to send you a reminder about an appointment.
How else does the Trust use my information?
We must use certain information about you to help improve NHS services and the health of the public in general. Your information may be used to:
• Help staff review the care provided to make sure it is of the highest standard
• Manage our systems and services
• Teach and train staff
• Protect the health of the public
• Provide performance and planning information
• Provide information to our Commissioners and to charge other healthcare providers for the service we have given to you
• Find out how many people have a certain illness or disease
• Carry out health research and development
• Investigate complaints, legal claims or serious incidents
Where information is used to manage the wider health service careful measures are taken to ensure that individual patients cannot be identified – your name, address and other information that will identify you will be removed wherever possible. For research, the law allows us to use your personal information but we will still tell you if we are going to use it – more information is available from the Health Research Authority (https://www.hra.nhs.uk/information-about-patients/).
Most of the time, anonymised data is used for research and planning so that you cannot be identified in which case your confidential patient information isn’t needed.
You have a choice about whether you want your confidential patient information to be used in this way. If you are happy with this use of information you do not need to do anything. If you do choose to opt out your confidential patient information will still be used to support your individual care.
To find out more or to register your choice to opt out, please visit www.nhs.uk/your-nhs-data-matters. On this web page you will:
- See what is meant by confidential patient information
- Find examples of when confidential patient information is used for individual care and examples of when it is used for purposes beyond individual care
- Find out more about the benefits of sharing data
- Understand more about who uses the data
- Find out how your data is protected
- Be able to access the system to view, set or change your opt-out setting
- Find the contact telephone number if you want to know any more or to set/change your opt-out by phone
- See the situations where the opt-out will not apply
You can also find out more about how patient information is used at:
https://www.hra.nhs.uk/information-about-patients/ (which covers health and care research); and
https://understandingpatientdata.org.uk/what-you-need-know (which covers how and why patient information is used, the safeguards and how decisions are made)
You can change your mind about your choice at any time.
Is my information shared with anyone else?
Your personal information may be given to other people who need to know relevant information about your health, for example, a carer or a relative who helps to care for you. It will only be given to them if:
• you have agreed, and,
• they need it to be able to give you care and treatment
Usually the NHS will not share your personal information with people without your consent; however, there are exceptions, such as:
• If you are a child and a health professional doesn’t think you can make decisions about your own care, someone with parental responsibility for you may be allowed to see your records and discuss your care
• If you are an adult who cannot make decisions for yourself or cannot tell others your decisions the law allows someone to see your records and discuss your care if:
• you have given them a power of attorney, or,
• a court has instructed them to deal with decision making
In these cases the person allowed to see your health information will:
• only be able to see information that is necessary to make certain decisions for you about your health care, and,
• not receive information that staff feel would be harmful to your health or the health of others
Sometimes the law needs the NHS to share your personal information without your consent, for example, to investigate a serious crime or to protect a child or vulnerable adult.
Sometimes the law requires us to pass on information, for example, notification of births and deaths: this is only given when formal consent has been given by a qualified health professional.
Why do you need to know about my ethnic background?
Knowing your ethnic background helps us to monitor our services and plan those that are most suitable for patient need.
Information about the people in Barnsley, Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield tells us how many of our local population belong to ethnic groups. If we find people from these groups are not using our services we can look at why this is happening and improve how we plan and deliver our services. Also, if we have more complaints from people from ethnic minority backgrounds, we need to know so we can find out what the reasons are and find ways to address the issues.
How is my information kept confidential?
Everyone working in the NHS has a duty to keep information about you confidential. At the Trust this includes information recorded during appointments or telephone calls with staff, information kept on our computer systems and paper records detailing your care. All our staff, hospitals and clinics are subject to the same data protection and confidentiality measures.
Is there a law that covers the use of my information?
Personal information collected and used by the NHS is controlled by the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR). The UK GDPR includes six data protection principles: one of these is that information must be used lawfully, fairly and transparently: this means you have a right to know how we intend to use the information you provide. It also means you have a right to privacy that is respected through any use of your personal information by the NHS.
In addition, the Data Protection Act 2018 permits the Trust to collect and use criminal offence data for employment, health and research.
Further information on the UK GDPR and the Data Protection Act 20218 can be obtained from:
Information Commissioner’s Office
Tel: 0303 123 1113 (local rate) or 01625 545745 (national rate)
If you are not happy with how the Trust is using your personal information you have a right to complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office.
Can I access my records?
You have a right to ask the Trust to confirm what personal information we hold about you – where we do hold your personal information you can request a copy of it and also ask us to tell you what it is, why we hold it, who we share it with, how long we will keep it and whether it is used for automated decision-making.
Here is our application for access to health records of a living individual and GDPR and guidance notes on making an application.
What if I think my personal information is wrong?
Please tell us if you think any information we hold about you that is inaccurate or incomplete.
Do I have a right to erasure (also known as the ‘right to be forgotten’)?
Health information cannot be erased where it is needed to provide your care, to manage our services or for public health purposes; however, if you think we have used your personal information unfairly or unlawfully, please tell us so we can investigate.
What if I don’t want my personal information to be used?
We will limit the use of your personal information if you have told us it is wrong or you have told us it is being processed unfairly or unlawfully while we are investigating.
If you believe you have grounds to stop the Trust from using your personal information you should contact us so we can investigate.
Can my personal information be sent electronically to another organisation?
Information about your care cannot be shared electronically with other organisations; however, if you have given your consent for the Trust to use any other personal information, we may be able to share it electronically with another organisation.
Who can I speak to so I can find out more?
You can speak to the person in charge of your care or contact the Trust’s data protection officer:
South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
Telephone: 07584 331791
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