There may also be times when information is collected from your relatives or next of kin – for example, if you are taken to one of our departments but you are unconscious or unable communicate.
We may also collect other information about you, such as your sexuality, race or ethnic origin, religious or other beliefs, and whether you have a disability or require any additional support with appointments (like an interpreter or advocate in line with your rights under the Accessible Information Standard).
Everyone working for the NHS is subject to the Common Law Duty of Confidentiality. This means that any information that you provide to us in confidence will only be used in connection with the purpose for which it was provided, unless we have specific consent from you or there are other special circumstances covered by law.
Under the NHS Confidentiality Code of Conduct, all of our staff are required to protect information, inform you of how your information will be used, and allow you to decide if and how your information can be shared.
Every NHS organisation has a senior person that is responsible for protecting the confidentiality of your information and enabling appropriate sharing. This person is known as the Caldicott Guardian, and within our trust this role sits with our Medical Director.
This is important because having accurate and up-to-date information will assist us in providing you with the best possible care. It also ensures that all information is readily available if you see another health professional or specialist within our trust or another part of the NHS.
There is also the potential for your information to help improve health care and other services across our trust and the wider NHS. Therefore, your information may also be used to help with:
Where the sharing involves a non-NHS organisation, a specific information sharing agreement is put in place to ensure that only relevant information is shared and this is done securely in a way which complies with the law.
Unless there are exceptional circumstances (such as a likely risk to the health and safety of others) or a valid reason permitted by law, we will not disclose any information to third parties which can be used to identify you without your consent.
We are also required to send statutory information to the Department of Health, which is then held centrally and strictly controlled by the NHS Information Authority. This organisation takes advice from an independent board called the Security and Confidentiality Advisory Group, which reports to the government Chief Medical Officer.
There may also be occasions when the trust is reviewed by an independent auditor, which could involve reviewing randomly selected patient information to ensure we are legally compliant.
There are other statutory bodies where we are required to provide your information, these include:
We also undertake clinical research and audits within the trust, and your permission may be required for some of this work. If you agree to be involved, a full explanation will be given and your consent will be obtained before proceeding. Your consent may not be required if the information being used has been anonymised. This means that it cannot be used to identify an individual person.
You also have the right to ‘opt out’ of having your information used in any mandatory audits which the trust is subjected to. If this is the case, you should write to our Information Governance team with your name, address, date of birth and hospital number or NHS number.
You can request information or an application form, by one of the following means:
Post: The Disclosure Team, Kedhlow Building, Royal Cornwall Hospital, Truro, Cornwall, TR1 3LJ
Tel: 01872 254505
Post: Information Governance Department, Kedhlow Building, Royal Cornwall Hospital, Truro, Cornwall, TR1 3LJ
Tel: 01872 258580
Please refer to our Policy to Manage Information and records for further information:
It may also be possible to resolve your concerns through a discussion with our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) before (or without the need to start) a more formal process:
Address: Patient Experience Team, Knowledge Spa, Royal Cornwall Hospital, Truro, TR1 3LJ.
Tel: 01872 252793
If you remain dissatisfied following the outcome of your complaint, you may then wish to contact the Information Commissioner’s Office:
Post: Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF
Phone: 0303 123 1113
Please note that the Information Commissioner will not normally consider an appeal until you have exhausted your rights of complaint to us directly. Please see the website above for further advice.