Data Protection

How we handle your information

Local Health Services such as hospitals and GP Practices will record and keep your information to ensure you receive the best possible care.

These records include:

  • Your name, date of birth, NHS Number
  • Information about your appointments and clinical visits
  • Reports and notes about your health, treatment and care
  • Relevant information about people who care for you, such as next of kin and other Health Professionals

This information provides essential reference for Health Professionals who you see, in all parts of the NHS.

It also enables us to investigate any issues, complaints or legal claims.

NHS Staff have a legal duty to keep your information confidential and secure and records are held securely and in the strictest confidence. Only information that is relevant will be shared following the six principles of information sharing (Caldicot Principles):

  • Formal justification of purpose
  • Information transferred when absolutely necessary
  • Only the minimum required
  • Need to know access controls
  • All to understand their responsibilities
  • Comply with and understand the law.

How is information shared?

In recent years the NHS has changed the way we share patient information among Health Professionals indifferent settings e.g. Hospitals, GP practices, Urgent Care Centres.

To prevent delay and ensure safe treatment, especially in urgent situations, doctors and other specialists may access essential parts of your record electronically, rather than writing to or phoning your GP or other Healthcare Professionals involved in you treatment and care.

The NHS nationally and locally currently use 3 systems to share information electronically. These are all ‘opt out schemes’, meaning that your records are automatically included unless you opt out of each Individual scheme.

Summary Care Record

The Summary Care Record (SCR) is a secure national electronic record, enabling doctors and health specialists to access information about you that could be vital in an emergency or out-of-hours situation.

The records will go live in the local area from 2014/215.

Records for each individual will be created automatically.

This will enable NHS staff caring for you anywhere in England to access the following information to support your care in an emergency:

  • Any medicines you are taking
  • Any allergies you have
  • Any bad reactions you had to medicines

Healthcare staff will ask your permission before they look at your record except in certain circumstances (e.g. if you are unconscious)

How to Opt-Out

You can download the ‘opt-out form’ at NHS Care Records and give this to your GP. For more information, speak with the Patient Advice & Liaison Service (PALS) on 0800 0730907 or 0117 9474477 or visit NHS Care Records for information about Summary Care Records in other languages or formats.

Connecting Care Records

Connecting Care is a local electronic patient record that allows health and social care professionals directly involved in your care, to share a summary of your medical record.

Your Connecting Care record will help those caring for you to manage your care better, and allow information to be shared quickly and safely. Only authorised staff providing health services across Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset can access your record.

For more information about Connecting Care, visit the Connecting Care website at

The website includes information on:

  • What Connecting Care is
  • Why share information
  • How information is protected
  • How to Opt Out/ In

NHS Care.Data

NHS Care.Data is a national information sharing project managed by the Health & Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).

It enables sharing of anonymous patient data to support Health research and planning. Your identity is not shared.

While the data is not used directly for your care, it helps researchers to see how well services are performing and how patient care can be Improved for everyone. Your record is automatically included, unless you ‘opt out’.

The NHS has been using information from hospitals health records this way for decades, but it is planning to extend this to include some information from GP’s.

Find out more at NHS England

The HSCIC follows strict rules about how information is collected and shared, in line with the law, national guidance and best practice.

To find out more about how your identity and records are protected, stored and shared, visit NHS Choices Care.Data

How to Opt Out

Speak with your GP. They may ask you to complete a form to indicate what information you are not happy to share. Even if you have already opted out of SCR and Connecting Care, you will still need to opt out of NHS.Care.

Other Organsations we may share information with

  • Community Pharmacists – regarding discharge information (for patient follow up and for patients requiring compliance devices)
  • Local councils e.g. Bristol City Council which may include Safeguarding Adult & Children Boards.
  • Constabularies e.g. Avon and Somerset Police.
  • Partner Organisations e.g. Barnardo's.
  • Independent regulator of health and social care in England - Care Quality Commission.
  • Other regulatory bodies e.g. Monitor

If you want more details about how we manage information about you or about your rights under the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Freedom of Information Act 2000, please call our Data Protection office.