Everyone working for health and social care services has a legal duty to keep information about you confidential.

Why is information recorded about me?

Health or social care professionals, for example, doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and social workers caring for you, keep records about the treatment you receive. These may be written down (manual/paper records), or kept on a computer (electronic records).

These records may include:

  • Basic details about you, for example, address and next of kin
  • Contacts we have had with you, for example, appointments
  • Notes and reports about your health and care, for example, change in medication or family circumstances
  • Details and records about your care, for example, treatment and advice given or referrals made
  • Results of investigations, for example, blood tests
  • Relevant information from people who care for you and know you well, for example, health and social care professionals and relatives

Your information is used to make sure:

  • You receive the best possible care
  • Those involved in your care have accurate and up-to-date information to help them provide the best care for you
  • Full information is available should you see another doctor, be referred to a specialist or another part of the NHS
  • That should you have a problem or concern, your care record will help with any investigation

 We may also use your information to:

  • Support future improvements in health and social care nationally
  • Help teach health and social care professionals
  • Manage health and social care services
  • Aid health research and developments
  • Monitor the care we provide to ensure it is of the highest standard
  • Investigate complaints, untoward incidents or legal claims
  • Prepare reports on NHS and social care performance
  • Pay your care provider for the care they provide

Will this information include any of my personal details?

Some of your personal information may be used for a number of reports. Usually this will not include your name and address but on the rare occasions where it is needed, we will ask for your consent before this information is shared.

These reports may be passed to other organisations involved in health and social care, for example, universities. Audits (checks) are carried out on a regular basis to make sure your information is being recorded and stored accurately and securely.

When other agencies are involved in your care, we may need to share information about you so that we can work together for your benefit. Information will only be shared if there is a real need and where possible, we will ask for your consent. If there is information you do not want us to share, please tell one of your health or social care professionals involved in your care.

We are required by law to report certain information about you without your consent:

  • Where the health and safety of others is at risk
  • Under special circumstances, for example if a formal court order has been issued
  • When approved by the Secretary of State for Health and Social care
  • Birth notifications
  • Death notification (including the death of a child)
  • Infectious diseases which may endanger the safety of others, for example, meningitis and measles but not HIV/AIDS.  

Can I see my health and social care record?

The Data Protection Act 1998 allows you to find out what information is held about you, on computer and in certain manual (paper) records. This is known as a ‘right of subject access’, and applies to your health and social care record.

If you want to see your record you should make a written request to the organisation from which you receive, or have been receiving treatment or services. You are entitled to receive a copy but should note that a charge will usually be made. If you have received treatment within the last 40 days, you may be entitled to view, free of charge, this episode of care from your health record from the organisation treating you.

In certain circumstances access to your record may be limited, for example, if it is felt to be in your best interest or for the protection of others.

How do I see my health and social care record?

You can print a request form below and when complete sent it to the Data Protection Officer who works in the area where your records are held. Alternatively you may contact any of the Trust's data protection staff and they will send you a copy of the form.

If you live in Durham, Darlington, Scarborough, Whitby, Ryedale, Northallerton, Richmond, Thirsk, Harrogate, Ripon, Middlesbrough, Redcar & Cleveland, York
Contact: Medical Records Department, Lanchester Road Hospital, Lanchester Road, Durham, DH1 5RD. Tel: 0191 333 6335. 

If you live in Easington or Peterlee
Contact: Merrick House, Seaside Lane, Easington, Peterlee, SR8 3DY. Tel: 0191 5275052

If you live in Hartlepool or Stockton
Contact: Sandwell Park Hospital, Lancaster Road, Hartlepool, TS24 8LL. Tel: 01429 285633

You can also speak to your care coordinator or health/social care professional or legal advisor who will help you do this.

Print the request form and read frequently asked questions about accessing your information.

What can I expect?

You can expect to have approved access to your health record within 40 days in the format you have requested. We will do this more quickly for many requests.

If you would like to know more about how we use your information or if, for any reason you do not wish to have your information used in any of the ways described in this leaflet, please speak to one of the professionals involved in your care.Further information is available from www.ico.org.uk

Anyone who receives information from us has a legal duty to keep it confidential

Organisations that your information may be shared with could include:

  • Acute NHS trusts (hospital services)
  • Mental health and learning disability NHS trusts
  • Primary care NHS trusts (community health services)
  • Children’s trusts
  • General practitioners (GP)
  • Social services
  • Ambulance services
  • National blood services
  • Strategic Health Authorities
  • Clinical networks, for example, Cancer Care Alliance
  • SureStart
  • Dentists, opticians, pharmacists
  • Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT)

We may also share some of your information with:

  • Education services
  • Local authorities (councils)
  • Police
  • Voluntary care providers and private care providers
  • Prison staff involved with your care
  • Ministry of Defence (MoD) staff involved with your care

This will be subject to strict agreement on how it will be used.

Common sense confidentiality

While members of staff have a duty not to disclose confidential information, confidentiality does not prevent contact between professionals and carers.  Therefore it:

  • must not be used as a reason for not engaging with a carer
  • cannot prevent the sharing of non-confidential information between a carer and a professional.

Lives may be lost if information is not shared as it should be and good practice dictates that 'the duty to share information can be as important as the duty to protect confidentiality’.  Find out more on our common sense confidentiality page

Our privacy notice 'Your health and social care record' leaflet