Data Controller: Dr Sajid Ali, GP Partner
Data Protection officer : Anshu Varma, Head of corporate affairs, NHS East Berkshire CCG.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and your information
The ICO recognises the unprecedented challenges the NHS and other health professionals are facing during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The ICO also recognise that 'Public bodies may require additional collection and sharing of personal data to protect against serious threats to public health.'
The Government have also taken action in respect of this and on 20th March 2020 the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care issued a Notice under Regulation 3(4) of The Health Service (Control of Patient Information) Regulations 2002 requiring organisations such as GP Practices to use your information to help GP Practices and other healthcare organisations to respond to and deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
In order to look after your healthcare needs during this difficult time, we may urgently need to share your personal information, including medical records, with clinical and non-clinical staff who belong to organisations that are permitted to use your information and need to use it to help deal with the Covid-19 pandemic. This could (amongst other measures) consist of either treating you or a member of your family and enable us and other healthcare organisations to monitor the disease, assess risk and manage the spread of the disease.
Please be assured that we will only share information and health data that is necessary to meet yours and public healthcare needs.
The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has also stated that these measures are temporary and will expire on 30th September 2020 unless a further extension is required. Any further extension will be will be provided in writing and we will communicate the same to you. Please also note that the data protection and electronic communication laws do not stop us from sending public health messages to you, either by phone, text or email as these messages are not direct marketing. It may also be necessary, where the latest technology allows us to do so, to use your information and health data to facilitate digital consultations and diagnoses and we will always do this with your security in mind.
If you are concerned about how your information is being used, please contact our DPO using the contact details provided in our Privacy Notice
Your information, what you need to know
This privacy notice explains why we collect information about you, how that information will be used, how we keep it safe and confidential and what your rights are in relation to this.
Why we collect information about you
Health care professionals who provide you with care are required by law to maintain records about your health and any treatment or care you have received. These records help to provide you with the best possible healthcare and help us to protect your safety.
We collect and hold data for the purpose of providing healthcare services to our patients and running our organisation which includes monitoring the quality of care that we provide. In carrying out this role we will collect information about you which helps us respond to your queries or secure specialist services. We will keep your information in written form and/or in digital form
Our Commitment to Data Privacy and Confidentiality Issues
As a GP practice, all of our GPs, staff and associated practitioners are committed to protecting your privacy and will only process data in accordance with the Data Protection Legislation. This includes the General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679 (GDPR), the Data Protection Act (DPA) 2018, the Law Enforcement Directive (Directive (EU) 2016/680) (LED) and any applicable national Laws implementing them as amended from time to time. The legislation requires us to process personal data only if there is a legitimate basis for doing so and that any processing must be fair and lawful.
In addition, consideration will also be given to all applicable Law concerning privacy, confidentiality, the processing and sharing of personal data including the Human Rights Act 1998, the Health and Social Care Act 2012 as amended by the Health and Social Care (Safety and Quality) Act 2015, the common law duty of confidentiality and the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations.
Data we collect about you
Records which this GP Practice will hold or share about you will include the following:
- Personal Data – means any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person (‘data subject’); an identifiable natural person is one who can be identified, directly or indirectly, in particular by reference to an identifier such as a name, an identification number, location data, an online identifier or to one or more factors specific to the physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural or social identity of that natural person.
- Special Categories of Personal Data – this term describes personal data revealing racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, or trade union membership, and the processing of genetic data, biometric data for the purpose of uniquely identifying a natural person, data concerning health or data concerning a natural person’s sex life or sexual orientation.
- Confidential Patient Information – this term describes information or data relating to their health and other matters disclosed to another (e.g. patient to clinician) in circumstances where it is reasonable to expect that the information will be held in confidence. Including both information ‘given in confidence’ and ‘that which is owed a duty of confidence’. As described in the Confidentiality: NHS code of Practice: Department of Health guidance on confidentiality 2003.
- Pseudonymised - The process of distinguishing individuals in a dataset by using a unique identifier which does not reveal their ‘real world’ identity.
- Anonymised – Data in a form that does not identify individuals and where identification through its combination with other data is not likely to take place
- Aggregated - Statistical data about several individuals that has been combined to show general trends or values without identifying individuals within the data.
How we use your information
Improvements in information technology are also making it possible for us to share data with other healthcare organisations for the purpose of providing you, your family and your community with better care. For example it is possible for healthcare professionals in other services to access your record with your permission when the practice is closed.
Whenever you use a health or care service, such as attending Accident & Emergency or using Community Care services, important information about you is collected in a patient record for that service. Collecting this information helps to ensure you get the best possible care and treatment. The information collected about you when you use these services can also be used and provided to other organisations for purposes beyond your individual care, for instance to help with:
- improving the quality and standards of care provided
- research into the development of new treatments
- preventing illness and diseases
- monitoring safety
- planning services
This may only take place when there is a clear legal basis to use this information. All these uses help to provide better health and care for you, your family and future generations. Confidential patient information about your health and care is only used like this where allowed by law.
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.
How long do we hold information for?
All records held by the Practice will be kept for the duration specified by national guidance from NHS Digital, Health and Social Care Records Code of Practice. Once information that we hold has been identified for destruction it will be disposed of in the most appropriate way for the type of information it is. Personal confidential and commercially confidential information will be disposed of by approved and secure confidential waste procedures. We keep a record of retention schedules within our information asset registers, in line with the Records Management Code of Practice for Health and Social Care 2016.
Individuals Rights under GDPR
Under GDPR 2016 the Law provides the following rights for individuals. The NHS uphold these rights in a number of ways.
- The right to be informed
- The right of access
- The right to rectification
- The right to erasure (not an absolute right) only applies in certain circumstances
- The right to restrict processing
- The right to data portability
- The right to object
- Rights in relation to automated decision making and profiling.
Your right to opt out of data sharing and processing
The NHS Constitution states ‘You have a right to request that your personal and confidential information is not used beyond your own care and treatment and to have your objections considered’. For further information please visit: The NHS Constitution
Type 1 Opt Out
This is an objection that prevents an individual's personal confidential information from being shared outside of their general practice except when it is being used for the purposes of direct care, or in particular circumstances required by law, such as a public health emergency like an outbreak of a pandemic disease. If you wish to apply a Type 1 Opt Out to their record they should make their wishes know to the practice manager.
National data opt-out
The national data opt-out was introduced on 25 May 2018, enabling patients to opt-out from the use of their data for research or planning purposes, in line with the recommendations of the National Data Guardian in her Review of Data Security, Consent and Opt-Outs.
By 2020 all health and care organisations are required to apply national data opt-outs where confidential patient information is used for research and planning purposes. NHS Digital has been applying national data opt-outs since 25 May 2018. Public Health England has been applying national data opt-outs since September 2018.
The national data opt-out replaces the previous ‘type 2’ opt-out, which required NHS Digital not to share a patient’s confidential patient information for purposes beyond their individual care. Any patient that had a type 2 opt-out recorded on or before 11 October 2018 has had it automatically converted to a national data opt-out. Those aged 13 or over were sent a letter giving them more information and a leaflet explaining the national data opt-out. For more information go to National data opt out programme
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
Right of Access to your information (Subject Access Request)
Under Data Protection Legislation everybody has the right have access to, or request a copy of, information we hold that can identify you, this includes your medical record, there are some safeguards regarding what you will have access and you may find information has been redacted or removed for the following reasons;
- Does not cause harm to the patient
- That legal confidentiality obligations for the non-disclosure of third-party information are adhered to
You do not need to give a reason to see your data. And requests can be made verbally or in writing. Although we may ask you to complete a form in order that we can ensure that you have the correct information you require.
Where multiple copies of the same information is requested the surgery may charge a reasonable fee for the extra copies.
You will need to provide proof of identity to receive this information.
Change of Detail
It is important that you tell the surgery if any of your contact details such as your name or address have changed especially if any of your other contacts details are incorrect. It is important that we are made aware of any changes immediately in order that no information is shared in error.
Mobile telephone number
If you provide us with your mobile phone number, we may use this to send you text reminders about your appointments or other health screening information. Please let us know if you do not wish to receive text reminders on your mobile.
Where you have provided us with your email address, with your consent we will use this to send you information relating to your health and the services we provide. If you do not wish to receive communications by email please let us know.
Data Protection Legislation requires organisations to register a notification with the Information Commissioner to describe the purposes for which they process personal and sensitive information.
We are registered as a Data Controller and our registration can be viewed online in the public register at: http://ico.org.uk/what_we_cover/register_of_data_controllers
Any changes to this notice will be published on our website and in a prominent area at the Practice.
If you have concerns or are unhappy about any of our services, please contact the Practice Manager.
For independent advice about data protection, privacy and data-sharing issues, you can contact:
The Information Commissioner
Phone: 0303 123 1113 Website: www.ico.gov.uk
Further information about the way in which the NHS uses personal information and your rights in that respect can be found here:
The NHS Care Record Guarantee
The NHS Care Record Guarantee for England sets out the rules that govern how patient information is used in the NHS, what control the patient can have over this, the rights individuals have to request copies of their data and how data is protected under Data Protection Legislation.
The NHS Constitution
The NHS Constitution establishes the principles and values of the NHS in England. It sets out the rights patients, the public and staff are entitled to. These rights cover how patients access health services, the quality of care you’ll receive, the treatments and programmes available to you, confidentiality, information and your right to complain if things go wrong.
NHS Digital collects health information from the records health and social care providers keep about the care and treatment they give, to promote health or support improvements in the delivery of care services in England.
Reviews of and Changes to our Privacy Notice
We will keep our Privacy Notice under regular review. This notice was last reviewed in April 2020