For some uses, such as decisions about treatment, it is important that we are able to identify you from the information held. For others, such as statistical uses, stringent measures are taken to ensure that individual patients cannot be identified.
Where it is not possible to use anonymised information, personally identifiable information may be used for essential NHS purposes. These may include research and where the law requires information to be passed on in the wider public or public health interest.
How we keep your records confidential
Everyone working for the NHS has a legal duty to keep information about you confidential.
You may be receiving care from other organisations as well as the NHS (like Social Services). We may need to share some information about you so we can all work together for your benefit. We will only ever use or pass on information about you if others involved in your care have a genuine need for it. We will not disclose your information to third parties without your permission unless there are exceptional circumstances, such as when the health or safety of others is at risk or where the law requires information to be passed on.
Anyone who receives information from us is also under a legal duty to keep it confidential.
Information that we have to share
We are required by law to report certain information to the appropriate authorities. Occasions when we must pass on information include:
- Notification of births and deaths
- Where we encounter infectious diseases which may endanger the safety of others
- Where a formal court order has been issued
- To help prevent, detect or prosecute serious crime