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 within any NHS organisation. 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. The records will include basic details about you, such as your name and address. They will also contain more sensitive information about your health and also information such as outcomes of needs assessments.
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) now known as the UK 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.
Details we collect about you
The health care professionals who provide you with care maintain records about your health and any treatment or care you have received previously (e.g. from Hospitals, GP Surgeries, A&E, etc.). These records help to provide you with the best possible healthcare.
Records which this GP Practice will hold about you will include the following:
- Details about you, such as your address and next of kin
- Any contact the surgery has had with you, such as appointments, clinic visits, emergency appointments, etc.
- Notes and reports about your health
- Details about your treatment and care
- Results of investigations, such as laboratory tests, x-rays, etc.
- Relevant information from other health professionals, relatives or those who care for 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 keep your information confidential and safe
Everyone working for our organisation is subject to the Common Law Duty of Confidence. Information provided in confidence will only be used for the purposes advised with consent given by the patient, unless there are other circumstances covered by the law. The NHS Digital Code of Practice on Confidential Information applies to all NHS staff and they are required to protect your information, inform you of how your information will be used, and allow you to decide if and how your information can be shared. All our staff are expected to make sure information is kept confidential and receive regular training on how to do this.
The health records we use will be electronic, on paper or a mixture of both, and we use a combination of working practices and technology to ensure that your information is kept confidential and secure. Your records are backed up securely in line with NHS standard procedures. We ensure that the information we hold is kept in secure locations, is protected by appropriate security and access is restricted to authorised personnel.
We also make sure external data processors that support us are legally and contractually bound to operate and prove security arrangements are in place where data that could or does identify a person are processed.
We are committed to protecting your privacy and will only use information collected lawfully in accordance with:
- Data Protection Legislation
- General Data Protection Regulation
- Human Rights Act
- Common Law Duty of Confidentiality
- NHS Codes of Confidentiality and Information Security
- Health and Social Care Act 2015
- And all applicable legislation
We maintain our duty of confidentiality to you at all times. We will only ever use or pass on information about you if we reasonably believe that others involved in your care have a genuine need for it. We will not disclose your information to any third party without your permission unless there are exceptional circumstances (such as a risk of serious harm to yourself or others) or where the law requires information to be passed on.
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. This is explained further in the Local Information Sharing section below.
Under the powers of the Health and Social Care Act 2015, NHS Digital can request personal confidential data from GP Practices without seeking patient consent for a number of specific purposes, which are set out in law. These purposes are explained below.
You can choose to withdraw your consent to your personal data being shared for these purposes. When we are about to participate in a new data-sharing project we will display prominent notices in the Practice and on our website at least four weeks before the scheme is due to start. Instructions will be provided to explain what you have to do to ‘opt-out’ of the new scheme. Please be aware that it may not be possible to opt out of one scheme and not others, so you may have to opt out of all the schemes if you do not wish your data to be shared.
You can object to your personal information being shared with other healthcare providers but should be aware that this may, in some instances, affect your care as important information about your health might not be available to healthcare staff in other organisations. If this limits the treatment that you can receive then the practice staff will explain this to you at the time you object.
To ensure you receive the best possible care, your records are used to facilitate the care you receive. Information held about you may be used to help protect the health of the public and to help us manage the NHS.
Assessing Treatment Outcomes
Information is used by Berkshire Healthcare Foundation Trust (BHFT) to assess the effectiveness of providing psychotherapy treatment to patients with long term conditions. NHS numbers and a summary of the number of visits to the practice before and after treatment is shared with BHFT. If you do not wish your information to be shared for this purpose please let your GP know.
Child Health Information
We wish to make sure that your child has the opportunity to have immunisations and health checks when they are due. We share information about childhood immunisations, the 6-8 week new baby check and breast-feeding status with NHS Berkshire Health Foundation Trust health visitors and school nurses, and with NHS South Central and West Commissioning Support Unit, who provide the Child Health Information Service in Berkshire on behalf of NHS England.
Information will be used by the CCG for clinical audit to monitor the quality of the service provided to patients with long terms conditions. When required, information will be held centrally and used for statistical purposes (e.g. the National Diabetes Audit). When this happens, strict measures are taken to ensure that individual patients cannot be identified from the data.
As a practice, we contribute to the Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD). Information in patients’ records is important for medical research to develop new treatments and test the safety of medicines. This practice supports medical research by sending some of the information from patient’s records to the CPRD. CPRD is a government organisation that provides anonymised patient data for research to improve patient and public health. You cannot be identified from the information sent to CPRD.
Diabetic Eye Screening – Health Intelligence
The Practice shares your diabetes related data with the Diabetic Eye Screening Programme operated by Health Intelligence (commissioned by NHS England). This supports your invitation for eye screening (where you are eligible and referred by the Practice) and ongoing care by the screening programme. This data may be shared with any Hospital Eye Services you are under the care of to support further treatment and with other healthcare professionals involved in your care, for example your Diabetologist.
For further information, take a look at Health Intelligence’s Privacy Notice on the diabetic eye screening website: www.berkshiredes.nhs.uk
Digitising Paper records
Patient information will be shared with ‘Stortec’ for the purpose of digitising patient paper records, also known as Lloyd George notes, and a full Data Processing Agreement is in place.
General Practice Data for Research and Planning
We are required by law to share some data from patients’ clinical records with NHS Digital under the General Practice Data for Planning and Research Directions 2021. For more information, including how to opt-out of sharing of your records, please see more info here:
General Practice Extraction Service (GPES)
- At risk patients data collection Version 3
- CVDPREVENT Audit
- Physical Health Checks for people with Severe Mental Illness
- National Obesity Audit
Purpose – GP practices are required to provide data extraction of their patients personal confidential information for various purposes to NHS England. The objective of this data collection is on an ongoing basis to identify patients registered at General Practices who fit within a certain criteria, in order to monitor and either provide direct care, or prevent serious harm to those patients. Below is a list of the purposes for the data extraction, by using the link you can find out the detail behind each data extraction and how your information will be used to inform this essential work:
- At risk patients including severely clinically vulnerable
- NHS England has directed NHS England to collect and analyse data in connection with Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Audit
- GPES Physical Health Checks for people with Severe Mental Illness (PHSMI) data collection.
- National Obesity Audit – NHS Digital
Legal Basis – All GP Practices in England are legally required to share data with NHS England for this purpose under section 259(1)(a) and (5) of the The Health and Social Care Act 2012
Further detailed legal basis can be found in each link.
Any objections to this data collection should be made directly to NHS England. email@example.com
Processor – NHS England
Improving Diabetes Care
Information that does not identify individual patients is used to enable focussed discussions to take place at practice-led local diabetes review meetings between health care professionals. This enables the professionals to improve the management and support of these patients.
Individual Funding Request
An ‘Individual Funding Request’ is a request made on your behalf, with your consent, by a clinician, for funding of specialised healthcare which falls outside the range of services and treatments that CCG has agreed to commission for the local population. An Individual Funding Request is taken under consideration when a case can be set out by a patient’s clinician that there are exceptional clinical circumstances which make the patient’s case different from other patients with the same condition who are at the same stage of their disease, or when the request is for a treatment that is regarded as new or experimental and where there are no other similar patients who would benefit from this treatment. A detailed response, including the criteria considered in arriving at the decision, will be provided to the patient’s clinician.
Invoice validation is an important process. It involves using your NHS number to identify which CCG is responsible for paying for your treatment. Section 251 of the NHS Act 2006 provides a statutory legal basis to process data for invoice validation purposes. We can also use your NHS number to check whether your care has been funded through specialist commissioning, which NHS England will pay for. The process makes sure that the organisations providing your care are paid correctly.
Local Information Sharing
Your GP electronic patient record is held securely and confidentially on an electronic system managed by your registered GP practice. If you require attention from a health professional such as an Emergency Department, Minor Injury Unit or Out Of Hours service, the professionals treating you are better able to give you safe and effective care if relevant information from your GP record is available to them.
Where available, this information can be shared electronically with other local health and care providers via a secure system designed for this purpose. Depending on the service you are using and your health and care needs, this may involve the professional accessing a secure system that enables them to view relevant parts of your GP electronic patient record (e.g. Connected Care or your Summary Care Record).
In all cases, your information is only accessed and used by authorised health and social care professionals in Berkshire based organisations who are involved in providing or supporting your direct care. Your permission will be asked before the information is accessed, other than in exceptional circumstances (e.g. emergencies) if the healthcare professional is unable to ask you and this is deemed to be in your best interests (which will then be logged).
Medical student placements
Our practice is involved in the training of medical students. As part of this programme medical students will work in the practice and may be involved in your care. If staff would like a student to be present they will always ask for your permission before the start of the consultation. The treatment or care you receive will not be affected if you refuse to have a student present during your appointment.
It is usual for GPs to discuss patient case histories as part of their continuing medical education or for the purpose of training GPs and/or medical students. In these situations the identity of the patient concerned will not be revealed.
Minuteful Kidney service for patients with diabetes (and/or other conditions)
The data is being processed for the purpose of delivery of a programme, sponsored by NHS Digital, to monitor urine for indications of chronic kidney disease (CKD) which is recommended to be undertaken annually for patients at risk of chronic kidney disease e.g., patients living with diabetes. The programme enables patients to test their kidney function from home. We will share your contact details with Healthy.io to enable them to contact you and send you a test kit. This will help identify patients at risk of kidney disease and help us agree any early interventions that can be put in place for the benefit of your care. Healthy.io will only use your data for the purposes of delivering their service to you. If you do not wish to receive a home test kit from Healthy.io we will continue to manage your care within the Practice. Healthy.io are required to hold data we send them in line with retention periods outlined in the Records Management code of Practice for Health and Social Care. Further information about this is available at: https://lp.healthy.io/minuteful_info/.
National Fraud Initiative – Cabinet Office
The use of data by the Cabinet Office for data matching is carried out with statutory authority under Part 6 of the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014. It does not require the consent of the individuals concerned under Data Protection legislation. Data matching by the Cabinet Office is subject to a Code of Practice. For further information see:
National Registries (such as the Learning Disabilities Register) have statutory permission under Section 251 of the NHS Act 2006, to collect and hold service user identifiable information without the need to seek informed consent from each individual service user.
‘Risk stratification for case finding’ is a process for identifying and managing patients who have or may be at-risk of health conditions (such as diabetes) or who are most likely to need healthcare services (such as people with frailty). Risk stratification tools used in the NHS help determine a person’s risk of suffering a particular condition and enable us to focus on preventing ill health before it develops.
Information about you is collected from a number of sources including NHS Trusts, GP Federations and your GP Practice. A risk score is then arrived at through an analysis of your de-identified information. This can help us identify and offer you additional services to improve your health.
Risk-stratification data may also be used to improve local services and commission new services, where there is an identified need. In this area, risk stratification may be commissioned by the Berkshire West NHS Clinical Commissioning Group. Section 251 of the NHS Act 2006 provides a statutory legal basis to process data for risk stratification purposes. Further information about risk stratification is available from: https://www.england.nhs.uk/ourwork/tsd/ig/risk-stratification /
If you do not wish information about you to be included in any risk stratification programmes, please let us know. We can add a code to your records that will stop your information from being used for this purpose. Please be aware that this may limit the ability of healthcare professionals to identify if you have or are at risk of developing certain serious health conditions.
If we have significant concerns or hear about an individual child or vulnerable adult being at risk of harm, we may share relevant information with other organisations, such as local authorities and the Police, involved in ensuring their safety.
Summary Care Record (SCR)
The NHS in England uses a national electronic record called the Summary Care Record (SCR) to support patient care. It contains key information from your GP record. Your SCR provides authorised healthcare staff with faster, secure access to essential information about you in an emergency or when you need unplanned care, where such information would otherwise be unavailable.
Summary Care Records are there to improve the safety and quality of your care. SCR core information comprises your allergies, adverse reactions and medications. An SCR with additional information can also include reason for medication, vaccinations, significant diagnoses / problems, significant procedures, anticipatory care information and end of life care information. Additional information can only be added to your SCR with your agreement.
Please be aware that if you choose to opt-out of SCR, NHS healthcare staff caring for you outside of this surgery may not be aware of your current medications, allergies you suffer from and any bad reactions to medicines you have had, in order to treat you safely in an emergency. Your records will stay as they are now with information being shared by letter, email or phone. If you wish to opt-out of having an SCR please return a completed opt-out form to the practice.
Supporting Medicines Management
Berkshire West CCG operates pharmacist and prescribing advice services to support local GP practices with prescribing queries, which may require identifiable information to be shared. These pharmacists work with your usual GP to provide advice on medicines and prescribing queries, and review prescribing of medicines to ensure that it is appropriate for your needs, safe and cost-effective. Where specialist prescribing support is required, the CCG medicines optimisation team may order medications on behalf of your GP Practice to support your care.
Supporting Locally Commissioned Services
CCGs support GP practices by auditing anonymised data to monitor locally commissioned services, measure prevalence and support data quality. The data does not include identifiable information and is used to support patient care and ensure providers are correctly paid for the services they provide.
We manage patient records in line with the Records Management NHS Code of Practice for Health and Social Care which sets the required standards of practice in the management of records for those who work within or under contract to NHS organisations in England, based on current legal requirements and professional best practice.
Who are our partner organisations?
We may also have to share your information, subject to strict agreements on how it will be used, with the following organisations:
- NHS Trusts
- Specialist Trusts
- GP Federations
- Independent Contractors such as dentists, opticians, pharmacists
- Private Sector Providers
- Voluntary Sector Providers
- Ambulance Trusts
- Clinical Commissioning Groups
- Social Care Services
- Local Authorities
- Education Services
- Fire and Rescue Services
- Other ‘data processors’
We will never share your information outside of health partner organisations without your explicit consent unless there are exceptional circumstances such as when the health or safety of others is at risk, where the law requires it or to carry out a statutory function.
Within the health partner organisations (NHS and Specialist Trusts) and in relation to the above mentioned themes – Risk Stratification, Invoice Validation, Supporting Medicines Management, Summary Care Record – we will assume you are happy for your information to be shared unless you choose to opt-out (see below).
This means you will need to express an explicit wish to not have your information shared with the other organisations; otherwise it will be automatically shared. We are required by law to report certain information to the appropriate authorities. This is only provided after formal permission has been given by a qualified health professional. There are occasions when we must pass on information, such as notification of new births, where we encounter infectious diseases which may endanger the safety of others, such as meningitis or measles (but not HIV/AIDS), and where a formal court order has been issued. Our guiding principle is that we are holding your records in strictest confidence.
Your right to withdraw consent for us to share your personal information (Opt-Out)
If you are happy for your data to be extracted and used for the purposes described in this privacy notice then you do not need to do anything. If you do not want your information to be used for any purpose beyond providing your care you can choose to opt-out. If you wish to do so, please let us know so we can code your record appropriately. We will respect your decision if you do not wish your information to be used for any purpose other than your care but in some circumstances we may still be legally required to disclose your data.
There are two main types of opt-out.
Type 1 Opt-Out
If you do not want information that identifies you to be shared outside the practice, for purposes beyond your direct care, you can register a ‘Type 1 Opt-Out’. This prevents your confidential personal information from being used other than in particular circumstances required by law, such as a public health emergency like an outbreak of a pandemic disease. Please contact us to request a ‘Type 1 opt-out’ form.
National data opt-out (NDOO)
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.
The national data opt-out replaces the previous ‘Type 2’ opt-out, which required NHS Digital not to use a patient’s confidential patient information for purposes beyond their individual care, for Planning or Research. 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
Access to your information
Under Data Protection Legislation everybody has the right to see, or have a copy, of data we hold that can identify you, with some exceptions. You do not need to give a reason to see your data. If you want to access your data you must make the request in writing. Under special circumstances, some information may be withheld. We may charge a reasonable fee for the administration of the request.
If you wish to have a copy of the information we hold about you, please ask at reception for a ‘Subject Access Request’ form.
Change of Details
It is important that you tell the person treating you if any of your details such as your name or address have changed or if any of your details are incorrect in order for this to be amended. Please inform us of any changes so our records for you are accurate and up to date.
Mobile telephone number
If you provide us with your mobile phone number we may use this to send you reminders about your appointments or other health screening information. Please let us know if you do not wish to receive reminders on your mobile.
We also use the NHS Account Messaging Service provided by NHS England to send you messages relating to your health and care. You need to be an NHS App user to receive these messages. Further information about the service can be found at the privacy notice for the NHS App managed by NHS England.
Where you have provided us with your email address, 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:
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
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 November 2023
Data Protection Officer & Information Governance Lead:
- Seraphim Patel, SCWCSU
- Dr Rupert Woolley, GP Partner
Updated by: Rosie Barker on 05/01/2024