The NHS advises patients to provide information about their medical history to ensure patients receive proper care and treatment. This information is kept together with details of their care as it may be required if they are seen again. The NHS may use some of this information for other reasons for example:

  • to help improve the health of the public generally
  • to see that the NHS runs efficiently
  • to plan for the future
  • to train NHS staff
  • to pay bills
  • to carry out medical and other health research for the benefit of everyone

Everyone working for the NHS has a legal duty to keep information about patients confidential.

Sometimes the law requires the NHS to pass on information: for example, to notify a birth. The NHS Central Register for England and Wales contains basic personal details of all patients registered with a general practitioner. The register does not contain clinical information.

Patients may receive care and treatment from other organisations as well as the NHS. In these circumstances it may be necessary to share some information about the patient so that they receive the best possible treatment.

We only ever use or pass on information about the patient if people have a genuine need for it in your and everyone’s interests. Whenever we can we shall remove details which identify the patient. The sharing of some types of very sensitive personal information is strictly controlled by law.

If the patient’s doctor is requested to report information to external agencies such as solicitors or insurance companies, he/she will only do so with the patient’s explicit consent.

Anyone who receives information from us is also under a legal duty to keep it confidential.

You have a right of access to your health records.