Your records - what you need to know

Why do we need information about you?

We keep information about you to give you the best possible care.

We may use this information to:

  • make sure your care is of a high standard 
  • plan services 
  • check how well we are performing 
  • help train staff and support research 
  • fund your care.

By law:

  • Everyone working with the NHS and social services must keep your information confidential 
  • Everyone must keep your information secure and share it only when necessary
  • Wherever possible we will keep your information anonymous so that it cannot be linked to you

What sort of information do we hold?

We hold basic personal information such as your name, address and date of birth.

In addition, we hold information which may be classified as sensitive under the Data Protection Act 1998 - for example, information about your health, and details of any assessments or treatments that relate to your health.

The Care Record Guarantee

This is our guarantee for NHS Care Records in England. This guarantee is our commitment that NHS organisations and those providing care on behalf of the NHS will use records about you in ways that respect your rights and promote your health and wellbeing.

Read: the Care Record Guarantee

How do we keep your information safe?

The Data Protection Act (1988) lays down eight principles that we must comply with when processing personal information. These state that personal information must be:

  • Processed fairly and lawfully 
  • Processed only for specified purposes 
  • Adequate, relevant and not excessive
  • Accurate and kept up-to-date
  • Not kept for longer than necessary
  • Processed in accordance with the rights of data subjects 
  • Protected by appropriate security (practical and organisational)
  • Not transferred outside the European Economic Area (EEA) without adequate protection

This means that:

  • We will ask for your consent to process your information, and tell you what we will do with it 
  • We will use your information only for the purposes for which we collected it 
  • We will collect and keep only the information we require 
  • We will keep it accurate and up-to-date (we may need your help for this) 
  • We will keep it for a specified period of time, and then destroy it securely 
  • We will recognise your right to see what information we are holding about you 
  • We will keep your records safe and secure, so that unauthorised people cannot see them 
  • We will not send your records abroad (unless you request it).
  • How can I see my records?
  • You are entitled by law to see any records we hold about you.

Seeing your records

If you are a current patient, and you wish to see your records, just ask a member of staff, and they will make an appointment for you to come in to view them. You can still see your records even if you are no longer in contact with us, but we will need some details from you in order to locate them.

You will not be able to take away your original records, but if you wish us to make you a copy of your records to take away, you will need to put this in writing. A member of staff can help you put your request in writing if you are unable to do so yourself. We may charge you a fee for copying your records.

We will try to make sure you can see your records within 28 days. If it is likely to take longer than this, we will inform you. However, we reserve the right to withhold any parts of the record that, in our medical opinion, are likely to cause serious harm to the physical or mental health of you or any other person.

To make a formal application, please write to:

The Information Governance Administrator
Bramber Building
Brighton General Hospital
Elm Grove
Brighton BN2 3EW

How do we store your information?

Your information may be recorded on a computer system and/or paper. Your information is stored securely, and only authorised staff can look at it. Some of our servcies are provided jointly and your information may be held as a single record, which is shared by all those involved in your care.

Apart from securely storing your information, all staff working with you have a duty to keep information about you confidential.

With whom might we share your information?

We will share relevant personal information about you on a need-to-know basis within the health care team (unless you object), to enable us to provide you with the best treatment. This also saves you from having to give the same information to several different people.

If you are being assesed for support or receiving services, several people and services may be working together to meet your needs. This may include housing services and social care. We may also need to share your information with carers, relatives or friends (unless you object).

Before we share your information we will ask you for your consent. You have the right to refuse, but this may affect our ability to provide services to you.

In certain rare circumstances (e.g. to protect other people or prevent crime), we may be legally obliged to share your information without asking for consent.

What can I do if I think information is wrong?

If you think any of the information we hold about you is wrong, please write to us the address below to tell us exactly what you think it is wrong and why you think it should be changed:

The Information Governance Administrator
Bramber Building
Brighton General Hospital
Elm Grove
Brighton BN2 3EW

If we agree that corrections are necessary we will make the changes. If, however, after reviewing it, we think the information is correct, we will let you know the reasons for this and note your concerns.

Patient Monitoring Forms

The Trust needs to ask patients monitoring questions so that we can make sure that all the services we offer are fair and easy to use by all of you regardless of your age, race, gender, sexual orientation, type of disability, or religion.

As a patient you might be given a form to fill in or asked by a member of staff what your ethnic group is, or what your sexual orientation is, or if your gender is the same now as it was when you were born. By answering these questions, you can help us to see where there might be gaps in our services and make sure that the service you get is right for you. You might be asked this question more than once if you visit different departments in the Trust. It is your choice whether to answer or not.

By collecting this information we will be able to see which communities live in Brighton & Hove and West Sussex and make sure our staff know how to treat these different groups. For example, we need to make sure that we have the correct interpreters available when needed. This data is kept confidential and is only allowed to be seen by staff who are approved to use it to make changes to services.

This is an example of our monitoring form.