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A stack of paper medical records on desk

This section explains why information is collected about you by Ashford and St. Peter’s Hospitals NHS Trust and the ways in which this information may be used.

You may also want to read the following:


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 computer.

The records may include:
  • Basic details about you, such as date of birth, address and next of kin
  • Information about contacts we have had with you, such as clinic visits
  • Notes about your health
  • Details about the treatment and care you receive
  • Results of investigations, such as X-rays and laboratory tests
  • Relevant information from other health or social care professionals, or those who care for you and know you well


How your records are used to help you
Your records are used to guide professionals in the care you receive to ensure that:
  • Your doctor, nurse or any other health or social care professionals involved in your care has accurate and up-to-date information to assess your health and decide what care you need
  • Full information is available if you see another doctor, or are 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:
  • Make sure our services can meet patient needs in the future
  • Review the care we provide to ensure it is of the highest standard
  • Teach and train healthcare professionals
  • Conduct health research and development
  • Audit NHS accounts and services
  • Prepare statistics on NHS performance
  • Investigate complaints, legal claims or untoward incidents
For some uses, such as decisions about treatment, it is important that we are able to identify you from the information held. For others, such as statistical uses, stringent measures are taken to ensure that individual patients cannot be identified.

Where it is not possible to use anonymised information, personally identifiable information may be used for essential NHS purposes. These may include research and where the law requires information to be passed on in the wider public or public health interest.


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 organisations 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 requires information to be passed on.

Anyone who receives information from us is also under a legal duty to keep it confidential.


Information that we have to share
We are required by law to report certain information to the appropriate authorities. Occasions when we must pass on information include:
  • Notification of births and deaths
  • Where we encounter infectious diseases which may endanger the safety of others
  • Where a formal court order has been issued
  • To help prevent, detect or prosecute serious crime


How you can get access to your own health records
The Data Protection Act 1998, which came into force on 1st March 2000, allows you to find out what information about you is held on computer and in certain paper records. This is known as “right of subject access”. It applies to your health records.

If you wish to see your Ashford and St. Peter’s Hospitals NHS Trust health records you should make a written request to the Health Records Officer. You are entitled to receive a copy but should note that a charge will usually be made. You should also be aware that in certain circumstances your right to see some details in your health records may be limited in your own interest of for other reasons.

Reference: Data Protection Act 1998: London. The Stationery Office

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