About Us

How we use your information

This webpage tells you about why Newcastle Hospitals collects information about patients, how we use this information, and how we keep it confidential and secure.

Collecting your information

Why we collect information about you

Your doctor and other health professionals caring for you keep records about your health and any treatment and care you receive. These records help to ensure that you receive the best possible care from us. The information may be written down on paper (manual records), held on a computer or a mixture of both. The records may include:

  • basic details about you, such as name, date of birth, address, NHS number, next of kin and ethnicity
  • contacts we have had with you, such as visits to a health professional
  • details and records about your health, treatment and care you receive
  • relevant information from other health professional, relatives or those people who care for you and know you well
  • information based on the professional opinion of the staff caring for you.

Why do we collect information about ethnicity?

Every NHS organisation has to collect information on the ethnic origins of its patients. This is a mixture of information about your culture, language, history, religion, nationality and upbringing. We only use it to make sure our services meet the needs of all members of the community. You don’t have to give us information about your ethnic origin if you do not want to.

How we ensure your information is accurate

We have a duty to make sure that your information is accurate and current. Information Quality Assurance Assessments are undertaken to help us improve the quality of information we record about you. You may also request that any incorrect information held on your records is corrected.

How your information is used to help you

Your information is used to ensure that:

  • staff caring for you have accurate and up to date information to help them decide the best possible care and treatment needed for you
  • we can contact you in relation to your care and treatment
  • treatments and services meet the needs of local communities
  • information is available should you need another form of care, for example if you are referred to a specialist or another part of the NHS
  • there is a good basis for looking back and assessing the type and quality of care you have received
  • your concerns can be properly investigated should you need to complain.

How your information is used for other purposes

In addition to supporting the care you receive, your information may also be used to help us:

  • look after the health of the general public
  • review the care we provide to ensure it is of the highest standard
  • teach and train health care professionals (if you do not your information to be used in this way, please let us know. It will not affect your treatment in any way)
  • conduct research approved by the Local Research Ethics Committee (your personal details will not be disclosed outside of the Trust without your consent)
  • conduct audits
  • investigate complaints, legal claims or untoward incidents
  • make sure our services can meet patient needs in the future
  • prepare statistics on NHS performance
  • monitor the way public money is spent.

If you do not want certain information recorded or shared with others, please talk to the person in charge of your care. There are however some aspects of your care which we are obliged to record.

How we keep your information confidential and secure

Everyone working for the NHS has a legal duty to maintain the highest level of confidentiality. Generally your information will only be seen by those providing or administering your care.

You may be receiving care from other people as well as the NHS such as such as private healthcare companies or social services. We may need to share information about you so we can all work together for your benefit.

We will only ever use or pass on information about you if others involved in your care have a genuine need for it and usually only with your consent.

When we pass on any information we will ensure it is kept confidential and secure. A few administrative processes require information that may identify you, however wherever possible, processes will use anonymised information.

Sharing your information

Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust works closely with other organisations to support patient care. This means that information will be shared between ourselves and other organisations who may be caring for you. These may include:

  • Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs)
  • your GP, pharmacy and other hospitals
  • out of hours medical services
  • NHS walk-in centres
  • ambulance services
  • NHS common services agencies such as dentists, ophthalmic services, etc
  • local authority departments, including social services, education and housing
  • voluntary sector providers who are directly involved in your care
  • private sector providers (private hospitals, care homes, domiciliary care agencies, hospices, contractors providing services to the NHS, etc).

The sharing of sensitive personal information is strictly controlled by law. Generally your information will only be seen by those involved in providing or administering your care. We will consult you before information is shared to ensure we act with your consent. If you are unable to consent for any reason, we will only share information where it is clearly in your best interests to do so. 

With your consent, information can be shared with relatives, partners, friends or carers.

When information is shared, it is transferred securely and kept confidentially by those who receive it.

Anyone who receives information from us is also under a legal duty to keep it confidential and secure

Sharing your information without consent

We will normally ask you for your consent to share information about you. However, there are times when we may be required by law to share your information without your consent. These may be:

  • where there is a serious risk of harm or abuse to you or other people
  • where a serious crime, such as assault, is being investigated or where it could be prevented
  • notification of new births
  • where we encounter infectious diseases that may endanger the safety of others, such as meningitis or measles (but not HIV/AIDS)
  • where a formal court order has been issued
  • where there is a legal requirement, for example if you had committed a Road Traffic Offence.
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