Ways in which the NHS shares information, and your choices to opt out.
For NHS staff to treat you effectively as a patient, your information will be passed, using secure means, from one part of the service to another. When a GP refers you to a consultant, or another department, relevant information is sent in a letter to support the referral. Other information about your medical condition and history relevant to your care may also be included.
When your GP advises that you are to be referred to another speciality, and you agree, this generally implies that you consent to relevant information being shared with the service you are due to see.
If you go to any hospital Accident and Emergency department, or call the out of hours GP service, this is unplanned care and is a self-referral. They will not hold any records about you unless you have visited previously. This means you may have to give information that you have previously given others. This can be an annoyance to patients and can be avoided by the use of the Summary Care Record (SCR).
Summary Care Record (SCR)
We previously wrote to patients about this type of electronic record. This is used to support your emergency care. It contains important information about any medicines you are taking, allergies you suffer from and any bad reactions to medicines that you may have had. Giving healthcare staff access to this information can prevent mistakes being made when caring for you in an emergency or when the surgery is closed. The SCR includes your name, address, date of birth and NHS number. You may want to add other details about your care to your SCR. This will only happen if you ask for the information to be included.
You should always be asked directly whether you are happy for clinical staff to look at your notes (where this is possible). They should record this consent, and the access is audited.
If you want your SCR to never be available for clinical staff to see, you can ask your GP practice to opt you out of sharing your records for your direct care. They will not be able to access your data unless you later opt back in by advising your GP surgery.
For more information about Summary Care Records and your choices visit: www.nhscarerecords.nhs.uk
If you do not want your records routinely shared with other health professionals please tick the opt out box on the downloadable form here SCR info sheet and opt out form NEW.pdf and return to your GP Practice. REMEMBER, if you change your mind at any time and wish to opt in just let your GP Practice know. You can also complete the online version here if you prefer Summary Care Record Opt-Out
Using information about the care you have received enables those involved in providing care and health services to improve the quality of care and health services for all. NHS England has therefore commissioned a programme of work on behalf of the NHS, public health and social care services to address gaps in information. This is called Care.Data.
The new system will provide joined-up information about the care received from all of the different parts of the health service, including hospitals and GP practices.
Your date of birth, full postcode, NHS Number and gender rather than your name will be used to link your records in a secure system. Once this information has been linked, a new record will be created. This new record will be anonymised and will not contain information that identifies you.
The NHS also needs to account for how money is spent, and to research diseases and illnesses. For some of this work they will use Universities or private organisations, and these will generally work with anonymised data relating to groups of patients. This collection of information will be part of Care.Data.
What are the benefits of sharing my information?
Your information will help the NHS to:
Find more effective ways of preventing, treating and managing illness;
Ensure changes or improvements to services reflect the needs of local patients;
Understand who is most at risk of particular diseases or conditions, to plan preventative services
Improve your understanding of the outcomes of care
Guide decisions about how to manage NHS and social care resources so that they can best support treatment and care
Identify who could be at risk of a condition or would benefit from a particular treatment
Make sure that NHS organisations receive the correct payments for services that they provide
For more information about Care-data and your choices:
Visit NHS Choices website at: www.nhs.uk/caredata for more information and a list of common questions
Call the Care-data Information Line on 0300 456 3531 (this phone also offers translation and text phone services.
More details about how your confidential information is looked after and how it may be used can be found on the website at www.hscic.gov.uk/patientconf
If you do not want your records, which may identify you, to be available for clinical research, and anonymised through the accounting process of the NHS, you can ask to be opted out of Care.Data. To do this please click here to download the opt out form Care Data Opt out letter and return to your GP Practice. REMEMBER, if you change your mind at any time and wish to opt in just let your GP Practice know.