How We Use Your Information

How we use your information


This page briefly explains why the NHS collects information about you, and how that information may be used.


The doctors and health professionals caring for you keep records about your health and any treatment or care you receive from the NHS. These records help to provide you with the best possible care.


Records may be written down (manual) or held on a computer (electronic), and may include:

  • Basic details about you, such as address and next of kin

  • Contact we have had with you, such as clinic visits

  • Notes and reports about your health

  • Details and records about your treatment and care

  • Results of investigations, such as laboratory tests, x-rays

Relevant information from other health professionals, relatives or those who care for you and know you well 

Your records are used to guide and administer the care you receive. The information in your records may be used to help protect the health of the public and to help us manage the NHS. Information may be used for clinical audit to monitor the quality of the service provided. 

Some of this information will be held centrally and used for statistical purposes. When we do this, we take strict measures to ensure that individual patients cannot be identified. 

The NHS also maintains a number registers of diseases, such as cancer, to allow the NHS to plan the services it provides. These registers are used to monitor the effectiveness of treatments and improve the outcomes for specific conditions. 

How do we maintain the confidentiality of your records? 

Everyone working for the NHS has a legal duty to keep information about you confidential. Anyone who receives information from an NHS organisation has a legal duty to keep it confidential. 

Who are our partner organisations? 

We may also have to share your information, subject to strict agreement on how it will be used, with: 

  • NHS Trusts

  • Specialist Trusts

  • Independent Contractors such as doctors, dentists, opticians, pharmacists

  • Private Sector Providers

  • Voluntary Sector Providers

  • Ambulance Trusts

  • NHS Commissioning Board (National)

  • NHS Commissioning Support Unit (local)

  • Social Care Services (children and adult services)

  • Local Authorities

  • Education Services  

  • Fire and Rescue Services

  • Police

  • Other justified ‘data processors’ 

We will only provide your information if they have a genuine legitimate need for it, or we have your permission to do so.


You have certain rights allowing you to object to the use or sharing of your personal and sensitive information. The Trust will always attempt to respect your objections but there may be times when the Trust are legally obligated to share your information. If you have any concerns about how your information is used, or shared, or wish to object to a particular use or sharing of your information, please contact the Trust Information Governance Manager to discuss your concerns.


What does the law require?


The law requires us to report certain information to the appropriate authorities.


The law strictly controls the sharing of some types of very sensitive personal information. We will not disclose your information to third parties without your permission unless there are exceptional circumstances, such as when the health or safety of others is at risk or where the law requires it.


How do we use your records to help you?


Your records are used to guide and administer the care you receive to ensure that:

  • The doctor, nurse or other healthcare professional involved in your care have accurate and up-to-date information to assess your health and decide what care you need

  • There is an information base for health professionals to assess the type and quality of care you have received

  • Your concerns can be properly investigated should you need to raise a complaint 

We can also ensure that accurate information is available if you need to see another doctor, or are referred to an NHS Specialist.


You have a right to object to the use and sharing of your personal information, collected by the Trust.

For example; you may state that you do not wish for information which you told the Doctor in Hospital to be passed on to your GP


How do we use your records to help others?


The information in your records may be used to help protect the health of the public and to help us manage the NHS by:

  • Making sure our services can meet the service user needs in the future

  • Reviewing the care provided to ensure it is of the highest standard

  • Paying your GP, dentist and hospital for the care they provide

  • Investigating incidents, complaints and legal claims

  • Reporting issues of patient safety

  • Helping with health research and development

  • Preparing statistics on NHS performance

  • Auditing NHS accounts and services

  • Auditing or administering public funds

Research projects are always approved by Local Research Ethics Committees. You will be specifically asked to consent for any research project in which you participate.


Can you access your records?


The Data Protection Act 1998 allows you to find out what information about you is held on computer and in certain manual records, subject to certain conditions. If you want to see your records, you need to make a written request to the NHS organisation(s) where you are being, or have been, treated, or have had any contact with.


In certain circumstances, your right to see some details in your health records may be limited for your own interests or for another reason, such as the protection of others.


If you would like to know more about how your information is used you can speak to the person in charge of your care.


You can also speak to the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) in your area or contact the Trust Information Governance team by emailing:, or calling 0151 676 5698.​

Patients are eligible for free NHS treatment at St Helens and Knowsley Teaching hospitals NHS Trust if they are: Ordinarily resident in the UK or: Overseas visitors, but entitled to free NHS services under the National Health Service (Charges to Overseas Visitors) Regulations

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