Using and Protecting Patient Information
Published: January 10, 2014
Why we collect patient information
We ask you for information about yourself so that you can receive proper care and treatment. If you agree, your relatives, friends and carer will be kept up to date with the progress of your treatment.
Why we retain patient information
We keep this information and details of your care, because it may be needed if we see you again. We may use some of this information for other reasons: for example, to help us protect the health of the public generally and to see that the NHS runs efficiently, plans for the future, trains its staff, pays its bills and can account for its actions.
Information may also be needed to help educate tomorrows clinical staff and to carry out medical and other health research for the benefit of everyone. Teaching new doctors, nurses and other staff often involves looking at medical notes, x-rays and test results to teach them about different kinds of illness.
What we do with patient information
Sometimes the law requires us to pass on information: for example, to notify a birth.
Everyone working for the NHS has a legal duty to keep information about you confidential. You may be receiving care from other people as well as the NHS.
So that we can all work together for your benefit, we may need to share some information about you. We only ever use or pass on information about you if people have a genuine need for it in your and everyone’s interest.
Whenever we can, we shall remove details that identify you. The sharing of some types of very sensitive personal information is strictly controlled by law. Anyone who receives information from us is also under a legal duty to keep it confidential.
What we will not do with patient information
Our staff are instructed to protect your privacy. This means we will not normally disclose any medical information (including test results) over the telephone.
We will not disclose information to family or friends unless we know that we have your consent.
We will not normally release details about other people described in your records (e.g. wife, children or parents) unless we also have their consent.
How we use the Information you give us
The main reasons your information may be needed are:
- Giving you health care and treatment
- Looking after the health of the general public
- Helping staff to review the care they provide to make sure it is of the highest standard
- Training and educating staff (but you can choose whether or not to be involved personally)
- Making sure that our services can meet patient needs in the future
- Paying your doctor, nurse, dentist or other staff, and the hospital that treats you, for the care they provide
- Auditing accounts
- Preparing statistics on NHS performance and activity (where steps will be taken to ensure you cannot be identified)
- Investigating complaints or legal claims
Research is approved by the Local Research Ethics Committee. (If anything to do with the research would involve you personally, you will be contacted to see if you are willing to take part. You will not be identified in any published results without your agreement).
You have a right of Access to your health records. We are required by law to allow you Access to your medical records. If you wish to view the notes relating to a current episode of care, please speak to the person who is in charge of your care. If you would like to view or receive a copy of your medical records file we will charge you a fee to cover our administration and costs. Please write to:
Medical Records Department
Please note that the main medical records department is located at Heartlands Hospital. This is also the address to write to if you were treated at Good Hope Hospital, Solihull Hospital or the Birmingham Chest Clinic. We have a duty to keep your medical records accurate.
Please feel free to point out any errors of fact that you may find in your records.