Data protection and confidentiality

Fair Processing Notice for patients: data protection and confidentiality

Your information – how we use it

Why we collect information about you

Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust keeps records about the healthcare and treatment patients receive. This helps to ensure that patients receive the best possible care from us.

How we keep your records confidential

Everyone working for the Trust must comply with the Common Law Duty of Confidence. Information you provide to the Trust in confidence will only be used for the purposes explained to you and to which you consented, unless there are other circumstances covered by the law.

The Trust complies with the NHS Confidentiality Code of Conduct. All our staff are required to protect your information, inform you of how your information will be used, and allow you to decide if and how your information can be shared.

The Trust holds information about you in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998.

How your personal information is used to improve the NHS

Your information will also help us manage the NHS and protect the health of the public by being used to:

  • review the care we provide to ensure it is of the highest standard and quality, e.g. through audit or service improvement
  • ensure our services can meet patient needs in the future
  • investigate patient queries, complaints and legal claims
  • ensure the hospital receives payment for the care you receive
  • prepare statistics on NHS performance
  • audit NHS accounts and services
  • undertake health research and development (with your consent – you may choose whether or not to be involved)
  • train and educate healthcare professionals

Sharing information with other NHS organisations

We share your personal information with other NHS organisations. For example, we may share your information for healthcare purposes with health authorities, other NHS trusts, general practitioners (GPs), ambulance services and primary care agencies.

Information sharing with non-NHS organisations

We may need to share information from your health records with other non-NHS organisations from which you are also receiving care, such as Social Services. However, we will not disclose any health information to third parties without your explicit consent unless there are exceptional circumstances, such as when the health or safety of others is at risk or where the law requires it.

We may also be asked by other statutory bodies to share basic information about you, such as your name and address, but not sensitive information from your health records. This would normally be to assist them to carry out their statutory duties. In these circumstances, where it is not practical to obtain your explicit consent, we are informing you through this notice, which is referred to as a Fair Processing Notice, under the Data Protection Act.

These non-NHS organisations may include, but are not restricted to:

  • Social Services
  • education services
  • local authorities
  • the police
  • voluntary sector providers
  • private sector providers


This Trust is required by law to protect the public funds it administers. It may share information provided to it with other bodies responsible for auditing or administering public funds, in order to prevent and detect fraud.

Patient satisfaction

We may use your details to contact you with regards to patient satisfaction surveys relating to services you have used within our hospital. This is to improve the way we deliver healthcare to you and other patients.

Your right to withdraw consent for us to share your personal information

At any time you have the right to refuse/withdraw consent to information sharing. The possible consequences will be fully explained to you and could include delays in receiving care. If you wish to opt out of sharing your information with a third party the Trust will ask you to sign a form to confirm your understanding. This will be uploaded to our Clinical system (SystmOne) so all staff who has legitimate access to your record is informed.

Further information

To learn more about how we use your information, please speak to the health professionals concerned with your care, or contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) department (see link below).

If you require more detailed information or have a concern regarding he way the Trust uses your information please contact the Information Governance team on atr@hct.nhs.uk

If you require access to your records please click on the following link for more information.

Contact us - Access to Medical Records