In common with other healthcare providers, we keep records about the people who use our services, to allow our staff to provide safe, effective, informed care.
NHS care records may be electronic, on paper or a mixture of both, and will relate to you, your health and the care you have received or will be receiving.
You have the right to privacy and confidentiality regarding your health records, and to expect the NHS to keep confidential information safe and secure, as set out in the NHS Constitution. Our Privacy Notice describes how we collect, use, retain and disclose personal information that we hold
Our health records guarantee
The people who care for you use your records to:
- provide a good basis for all health decisions made by you and healthcare professionals involved in your care
- enable you to work with those providing care
- make sure your care is safe and effective
- 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
- manage the health services
- help investigate any concerns or complaints you or your family have about your healthcare.
Information from your health record, that does not identify you, may also be used to:
- teach healthcare professionals
- help with research.
Your rights regarding your health records
The law gives you the right to:
- confidentiality under the common-law duty of confidentiality
- protection in the way information about you is handled under the Data Protection Act 1998
- privacy, under the Human Rights Act 1998.
These are not ‘absolute rights’, as often an individual’s rights will need to be balanced with those of others, but they do offer considerable protection.
The law also gives you the right to:
- ask for a copy of all records about you held in paper or electronic form (you may have to pay a fee)
- choose someone to make decisions about your healthcare if you become unable to do so (this is called ‘a lasting power of attorney’). Further information on this can be found on the Government's guide to Power of Attorney
We have a duty to:
- maintain accurate records of the care we provide to you
- keep records about you confidential, secure and accurate (including after you die)
- provide information in a format that is accessible to you (for example, in large type if you are partially sighted).
If you have any concerns about privacy and confidentiality, or want to know more about the arrangements that we have put in place to follow the commitments outlined above, please speak to the staff providing your care.
You'll find more advice about health records, including helpful information about the Summary Care Records which are created from GP medical records, on the NHS Choices guide to your health records.