Data Protection Leaflet to download
In the National Health Service in England, we aim to provide you with the highest quality of healthcare. To do this, we must keep records about you, your health and the care we have provided to you or plan to provide to you. NHS care records may be electronic, on paper or a mixture of both, and organisations use a combination of working practices and technology to keep to this guarantee. This guarantee is our commitment that we will use records about you in ways that respect your rights and promote your health and wellbeing.
The people who care for you use your records to:
- provide a good basis for all health decisions made by you and healthcare professionals
- allow you to work with those providing care;
- make sure your care is safe and effective; and
- work effectively with others providing you with care.
Others may also need to use records about you to:
- check the quality of care (such as a clinical audit);
- protect the health of the general public;
- keep track of NHS spending;
- manage the health service;
- help investigate any concerns or complaints you or your family have about your healthcare;
- teach healthcare professionals; and
- help with research.
You have the right:
- to confidentiality under the Data Protection Act 1998, the Human Rights Act 1998 and the common law duty of confidence (the Disability Discrimination Act 2005 and the Race Relations Act 1976 and Amendment 2000 may also apply);
- to ask for a copy of all records about you held in paper or electronic form (you may may have to pay a fee); and
- to choose someone to make decisions about your healthcare if you become unable to do so (this is called ‘a lasting power of attorney’).
We have a duty to:
- maintain full and accurate records of the care we provide to you;
- keep records about you confidential, secure and accurate; and
- provide information in a format that is accessible to you (for example, in large type if you are partially sighted).
It is good practice for people in the NHS who provide your care to:
- discuss and agree with you what they are going to record about you;
- give you a copy of letters they are writing about you; and
- show you what they have recorded about you, if you ask.