Security of information

Confidentiality affects everyone. Woking & Sam Beare Hospices collects, stores and uses large amounts of personal data every day, such as medical records, personal records and computerised information. This data is used by many people in the course of their work.
We take our duty to protect your personal information and confidentiality very seriously and we are committed to taking all reasonable measures to ensure the confidentiality and security of personal data for which we are responsible, whether computerised or on paper.

At Board level, we have a Senior Information Risk Owner, who is accountable for the management of all information assets and any associated risks and incidents, and a Caldicott Guardian, who is responsible for the management of patient information and patient confidentiality.

Your personal information

In order to provide you with the highest quality of healthcare we need to keep records. We must maintain an accurate record of relevant information about you, and these records may include:

• Personal information such as your name, address, date of birth, next of kin
• Contact we have had with you, such as clinic visits and hospital admissions
• Notes and reports about your health and details of treatment and care received.
• Results of investigations such as x-rays and tests.

The people who provide healthcare to you will use your records to:

• Confirm who you are when we contact you, or when you contact us
• Make decisions about your ongoing care and treatment
• Make sure your care is safe and effective
• Check the quality of your care

However, if you have any concerns about providing information or how we share it with other healthcare providers, please discuss this with our staff so that you fully understand the potential impact on your care or treatment.

We share medical records with referring clinicians, GPs, Ambulance Service and Clinical Commissioning Groups and NHS hospitals. By having a shared record we ensure that relevant information is available to your clinician in order to provide the best clinical care.
If you are receiving care from other services outside the NHS, for example local authority social care services, we may need to share information about you with them so we can all work together for your benefit. Therefore, with your permission, we may also share your information with:

• Social care services
• Local authorities
• Voluntary and private sector providers working with the NHS

Where we do share information with other organisations involved in your care, we do so under a formal agreement about how it will be used and kept confidential. We will not disclose your information to any other third parties without your permission unless there are exceptional circumstances, such as if the health and safety of others is at risk or if the law requires us to pass on information.

Use of your information for other purposes

Relevant information about you may also be used to help us to:

• Teach and train our staff (but you can choose whether or not to be involved)
• Manage and plan our services
• Help investigate concerns or complaints that you may have about your healthcare
• Receive payment and keep track of spending

Wherever possible we use information that would not identify you personally (anonymous information).

Using your information for research

Research has a vital role to play in the development of healthcare and health service delivery. The Trust is a proactive research institution and this is reflected in our aims and values. The Trust’s Research Ethics Committee must approve research before it takes place. If we wish to use your personal information for research then we will ask you for permission first. You will not be identified in any published results without your agreement.

How long do you keep my records? 

There are national standards for how long we need to keep information about you. This varies depending on what the information is about. Generally it will be for 8 years after your last treatment or until your 25th birthday if you were under 18 at the time of the treatment.

Can I see the information you hold about me?

Yes. You have the right to access any information we hold about you. This will be subject to a fee which helps us to recover the cost of making this information available.

Our leaflet Accessing Health Records explains how to access the information we hold about you.

How do you keep my records confidential?

Everyone working in healthcare has a legal duty to keep information about you confidential. Anyone who receives information from us is also under a legal duty to keep it secure and confidential. You have the right to confidentiality under the Data Protection Act 1998, the Human Rights Act 1998 and the common law duty of confidence.

If you have any concerns or questions about the confidentiality of your information, then please talk to the staff providing your healthcare and treatment, or contact: caldicottguardian@wsbhospices.co.uk