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Barts and the London NHS Trust

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Know your rights  

Health records and Data Protection/Confidentiality

What are health records?
Health records are a patient’s record of all their appointments and treatment received at any of our hospitals. 

How your records are used to help you
Your health record is used by the doctor, nurse or any other healthcare professional to plan your care and treatment. Information held in your record will only be shared with staff in other organisations if they are directly involved with your care and treatment e.g. your GP, Social Services, community nurses and therapy staff.

Why the Trust collects information about you
Doctors, nurses and other health professionals who treat you will keep records about your health, your treatment and care. These records, known as health records or case notes are kept in both paper and computer (electronic) formats. Your health record may contain:

  • Your personal information e.g. name, address, next of kin, ethnic origin
  • Contact we have had with you e.g. clinic visits, operations
  • Results of investigations e.g. X-rays, blood tests
  • Letters relating to your care e.g. letter to your GP, Social Services  

Your health record is kept confidential at all times and is only shared with staff so that they can effectively undertake their job.  All Trust staff are bound by strict professional and contractual codes of confidentiality. Wherever possible, information is annoymised so that individual patients can not be identified.

How your records are used by the Trust/NHS
Information about your care and treatment is used by the Trust in the following ways:

  • Complaints
    Should you make a complaint the Trust will use your information to investigate this. All information/letters concerning your complaint will not be kept in your health record. Please use the ‘Tell Us’ feedback forms which can be found around the hospitals or speak to a healthcare professional to raise any issues.
  • Clinical audit
    The Trust uses health records to monitor all healthcare professionals to ensure that they are constantly providing high standards of care/treatment. 
  • Teaching and Training
    Your health record could be used to teach and train new and existing staff employed by the Trust or other NHS organisations.
  • Research
    With Barts and The London Queen Mary’s School of Medicine and Dentistry, the Trust is a joint centre of research and you may be approached by a researcher asking if you would like to participate in a research project. All Research projects are approved by a Research Ethics Committee. Both Trust and medical school staff review patient records as part of their research and to identify patients who could participate in research trials. 
  • Management planning
    Information is used by Trust managers to monitor the Trust’s performance e.g. number of patients attending an outpatient clinic. Annoymised information is also provided to private companies to predict patterns/trends in patient attendance to assist the Trust to plan future treatment.
  • Payment of services
    The Trust provides information to other NHS Organisations such as Primary Care Trusts and Strategic Health Authorities to receive payment for treatment provided.
  • Administration of Services
    The administration of your care may be undertaken on behalf of the Trust by third party companies.  These companies are bound by very strict confidential agreements. 
  • NHS Regulatory Bodies
    The Trust is under a duty to protect the public funds its administers, and to this end may use the information provided by patients for the prevention and detection of fraud. It may also share this information with other bodies responsible for auditing or administering public funds for these purposes.
  • Support/Promotion of Trust services
    The Trust may use information provided by a patient e.g. name, address and next of kin information to inform the patient and where applicable their carer/next of kin of additional services and future plans of the Trust.

Your rights
If you have any concerns on how your information is used by the Trust that does not relate directly to your treatment, please let the staff involved with your healthcare know, alternatively, please contact the Trust's Privacy Officer on tel 020 7377 7072 or email:

What you can do to help us
Always ensure that you inform the Trust when your information changes like your address, GP, telephone number, next of kin/emergency contact details. If you do not understand who we are sharing your information with, please do not hesitate to ask the person providing your care

You have the right to obtain a copy of the information the Trust holds about you. To obtain a copy, please write to the Information Co-ordinators (details below) or download the Application for personal information form.

The Trust is required to provide you with a copy of your information within 40 working days. The Trust has the right to charge for providing a copy of your information.  Upon your application, these charges will be explained to you.

Who to contact if you need more information
For further information on how to obtain a copy of your information, please contact:

Information Co-ordinators Team
Health Records Department
Barts and The London NHS Trust
The Basement, Outpatients Department
The Royal London Hospital
E1 1BB

Telephone 020 7377 7149

Data Protection Act Notification
Every organisation has a legal responsibility to notify all their uses of personal information with the Information Commissioner on an annual basis.

The Trust’s notification number is: Z5026592. 
Review Date: October 2007

Full details of the Trust notification can be found in the Information Commissioners Data Protection Public Register

Race Equality Scheme

The Trust’s Race Equality Scheme reinforces our anti-discrimination principles and equal opportunities policies, and supports their effective implementation. This scheme sets out how the Trust plans to guard against racial discrimination and institutional racism against patients or staff, and how it will comply with the terms of the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000. More information >>.