This notice describes how we may use your information to protect you and others during the Covid-19 outbreak and supplements our main Privacy Notice.
The health and social care system is facing significant pressures due to the Covid-19 outbreak. Health and care information is essential to deliver care to individuals, to support health and social care services and to protect public health. Information will also be vital in researching, monitoring, tracking and managing the outbreak. In the current emergency it has become even more important to share health and care information across relevant organisations.
Existing law which allows confidential patient information to be used and shared appropriately and lawfully in a public health emergency is being used during this outbreak. Using this law the Secretary of State has required NHS Digital; NHS England and Improvement; Arms Length Bodies (such as Public Health England); local authorities; health organisations and GPs to share confidential patient information to respond to the Covid-19 outbreak. Any information used or shared during the Covid-19 outbreak will be limited to the period of the outbreak unless there is another legal basis to use the data. Further information is available on gov.uk here and some FAQs on this law are available here.
During this period of emergency, opt-outs will not generally apply to the data used to support the Covid-19 outbreak, due to the public interest in sharing information. This includes National Data Opt-outs. However in relation to the Summary Care Record, existing choices will be respected. Where data is used and shared under these laws your right to have personal data erased will also not apply. It may also take us longer to respond to Subject Access requests and Freedom of Information whilst we focus our efforts on responding to the outbreak.
In order to look after your health and care needs we may share your confidential patient information including health and care records with clinical and non clinical staff in other health and care providers, for example neighbouring GP practices, hospitals and NHS 111.
During this period of emergency we may offer you a consultation via telephone or video-conferencing. By accepting the invitation and entering the consultation you are consenting to this. Your personal/confidential patient information will be safeguarded in the same way it would with any other consultation.
We will also be required to share personal/confidential patient information with health and care organisations and other bodies engaged in disease surveillance for the purposes of protecting public health, providing healthcare services to the public and monitoring and managing the outbreak. Further information about how health and care data is being used and shared by other NHS and social care organisations in a variety of ways to support the Covid-19 response is here.
This Privacy Notice has been written to describe to patients, service users, visitors, carers, the public and staff how we collect, use, retain and disclose personal information which we hold. This privacy notice is part of our communication to ensure that we process your personal information fairly and lawfully, based upon the Data Protection Act 2018 that ensures the implementation of the EUs General Data Protection Regulation 2016 (GDPR) into UK law, collectively referred to as Data Protection Legislation.
Who we are
Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust (RSFT) is a single-site hospital, based in Guildford, which serves a population of more than 330,000 across south west Surrey.
We are a tertiary cancer centre, offering state of the art diagnostic and treatment services to a population of up to 2 million.
We have five divisions led by management and clinician partnerships:
We also attract referrals from across the country for some specialties including urology and our Minimal Access Therapy Training Unit (key-hole surgery) is one of only three such training units in the UK.
In partnership with Procare Health Ltd (a federation for local GP practices) we also provide adult community health services, care to patients in the community. They include services like district nursing, podiatry, rehabilitation beds, therapists and Minor Injuries Unit at Haslemere Hospital and operate across the sites at Haslemere Hospital, Milford Hospital, Cranleigh Hospital, Jarvis Centre and the Beacon Centre.
Further information about the Trust can be found on our website.
The Trust is registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office, the UK’s Independent body set up to uphold information rights, including your rights on your information. Our registration number is Z486353X.
Our Caldicott Guardian who is responsible for protecting the confidentiality of patient and service user information and enabling appropriate sharing of information, is Jo Mountjoy, Chief Nurse. Contact details:
Tel: 01483 571 122.
Our Senior Information Risk Owner (SIRO) who takes responsibility and ownership of the Trust’s information risk is Ross Dunworth, Director of Finance. Contact details:
Tel: 01483 571 122
Our Data Protection Officer is Ruth Drewett who is also Head of Information Governance and Freedom of Information Lead. Contact details:
Tel: 01483 571 122 Ext: 2504.
National Fraud Initiative Privacy Notice 2020/21
The Cabinet Office conducts data matching exercises to assist in the prevention and detection of fraud under its statutory authority and does not require the consent of individuals concerned under data protection legislation or the GDPR. The NFI also conducts regular data sharing and analytics pilots to evaluate and improve data matching methodology to continue to help detect and prevent fraud in the most efficient and effective way possible. The National Fraud Initiative is conducted using the data matching powers bestowed on the Minister for the Cabinet Office by The National Fraud Initiative is conducted using the data matching powers bestowed on the Minister for the Cabinet Office by Part 6 of the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 (LAAA). Click here for more information on the National Fraud Initiative Privacy Notice.
Who are we governed by?
Department of Health
Information Commissioner’s Office
Care Quality Commission
We ask you for information about yourself so that you can receive care and treatment. We keep this information, together with details of your care, because it may be needed if we see you again, and allows continuity of care.
As a data controller under the GDPR we process personal data (under Article 6) and sensitive data which the GDPR terms as Special Categories (under article 9).
Personal data is defined as information relating to a living individual that can identify them. Examples include name, date of birth, NHS Number or a combination that can also identify an individual.
Special categories are defined as: race, ethnic origin, politics, religion, trade union membership, genetics, biometrics (where used for ID purposes), health, sex life and sexual orientation.
The legal basis for the Trust as a public authority for processing information for your individual care under GDPR is as follows:
6(1)(e) ‘…necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority…’.
6(1)(d) ‘…necessary in order to protect the vital interests of the data subject or of another natural person’ and
9(2)(h) ‘…medical diagnosis, the provision of health or social care or treatment or the management of health or social care systems…’
9(2)(b) ‘…is necessary for the purposes of carrying out the obligations and exercising the specific rights of the controller or of the data subject in the field of …social protection law in so far as it is authorised by Union or Member State law..’
Our guiding principle is that we hold your records in strict confidence.
Information we collect includes:
For Staff, Volunteers and Job Applicants
The Trust keeps information on employees, volunteers and job applicants in connection with their work for the Trust or their application.
The legal basis for the Trust as a public authority for processing this personal information under GDPR is as follows:
6(1)(e) ‘…necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority…’.
9(2)(b) ‘…is necessary for the purposes of carrying out the obligations and exercising the specific rights of the controller or of the data subject in the field of employment…social protection law in so far as it is authorised by Union or Member State law..’
For individual contractors providing services to the Trust.
Article 6(1) (b) is necessary for a contract where the individual has a contract with the Trust or because the individual has asked the Trust to take specific steps before entering into a contract.
This information may include:
The Trust may collect this information in a variety of ways. For example, data might be collected through application forms, CVs or resumes; obtained from your passport or other identity documents such as your driving licence; from forms completed by you at the start of or during employment (such as benefit nomination forms); from correspondence with you; or through interviews, meetings or other assessments.
In some cases, the trust may collect personal data about you from third parties, such as references supplied by former employers, information from employment background check providers, information from credit reference agencies and information from criminal records checks permitted by law.
Not a Patient or Employee? Visitors, Relatives, Friends, Next of Kin
It is possible that the Trust holds information on you as part of someone else’s record. Under GDPR you may still be entitled to receive a copy of this information, so long as it would not breach the confidentiality of the person whose records hold the information, or there is another reason not to provide it.
The legal basis for the Trust as a public authority for processing your personal under GDPR is as follows:
6(1)(e) ‘…necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority…’
What the GDPR terms mean:
Contract: the processing is necessary for a contract the individual has with the Trust, or because they have asked the Trust to take specific steps before entering into a contract.
Legal obligation: the processing is necessary for the Trust to comply with the law (not including contractual obligations).
Vital interests: the processing is necessary to protect someone’s life.
Exercise of Official Authority: there are many Acts of Parliament which set out the responsibilities and authority of NHS bodies, such as Foundation Trusts of which Royal Surrey is one. For instance the Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Act 2003 and the Health and Social Care Act 2012.
Public task: the processing is necessary for the Trust to perform a task in the public interest or for the Trusts official functions, and the task or function has a clear basis in law.
How your patient records are used to help you
How your patient records are used to help the NHS
Some of this information will also be held centrally by the NHS where it is used for statistical purposes in order to plan ahead. This is known as Secondary Use. Strict security measures are taken to ensure that individual patients cannot be identified.
Anonymous statistical information may also be passed to organisations with a legitimate interest in health care and its management, including universities, community safety units and research institutions.
Where it is not possible to use anonymous information, personally identifiable information may be used for essential NHS purposes such as research and auditing. This will only be done with your consent, unless the law permits the information to be passed on to improve public health or the research has been approved by the Confidentiality Advisory Group (CAG), (a national body comprised of ethicists, data protection experts as well as lay people).
Transfers of your information to third countries or international organisations
It may sometimes be necessary to transfer personal information overseas. When this is needed information is only shared within the European Economic Area (EEA) unless additional safeguards have been put in place to protect your information.
Any transfers made will be in full compliance with all aspects of current data protection legislation.
How long do we hold your information for?
We retain health records for at least 8 years from the last date that we saw you at the Trust and until 25th birthday for children. For patients who have had cancer or blood transfusion your record is kept for 30 years after we have finished treating you.
These are the minimum times for which we keep information; we may keep it for longer if we believe doing so will be of benefit to you or we are not able to delete it due to a technical issue for example.
We have a duty to:
Further details can be found in “The Records Management Code of Practice for Health and Social Care 2016”.
Everyone working for the NHS has a legal duty to keep information about you confidential.
You may receive care from other people as well as the NHS (like Social Services). We may need to share some information about you so that 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 such as our partner organisations, listed below.
All NHS organisations must comply with the NHS Care Records Guarantee. The document sets out the rules that govern how patient information is used in the NHS and what controls a patient can have over this.
We will not disclose your information to third parties without your consent unless there are exceptional circumstances. These may be in situations when the health and safety of others is at risk, or where the law permits information to be passed on. Anyone who receives information from us is also under a legal duty to keep it confidential.
We are required by law to report certain information to the appropriate authorities. This is only provided after formal permission has been given by a qualified health professional.
Occasions when we must pass on information include:
The principal partner organisations or people with which relevant information may be shared are:
Relevant information may also be shared with the organisations below. Where this is done it will be either to benefit your treatment plan or to help plan future services for others. Usually this is covered by a strict agreement describing how the information is to be used (a Purpose Specific Information Sharing Agreement).
Third parties processing on Royal Surrey's behalf for direct care:
As part of your care, you may have provided samples e.g. urine or blood etc. which will be processed by the Trust’s laboratory, or, if a specialised test, with a partner laboratory. The results of these tests and a record of the drugs you have been prescribed are stored by the Trust. The Trust is part of Berkshire Surrey Pathology Services (BSPS) - learn more by clicking here. BSPS is a joint venture of Pathology Services between Frimley Health, Royal Berkshire, Royal Surrey and Ashford and St Peters NHS Foundation Trusts.
Surrey Care Record
Summary Care Record
The Summary Care Record (SCR) is a summary electronic patient record of national health services patient data held on a central secure database covering the whole of England. The purpose of the system is to make ‘essential’ patient data readily available anywhere the patient seeks treatment. The Trust does not feed any information into the system however staff that are treating you at the Trust may access the SCR to view your record, this will be done with your consent.
Information we are required to report
We are also required by law to report certain information to the appropriate authorities, for example notification of new births. We may also provide information regarding crimes to the police and where a court order has been received.
Whenever we share information with other organisations we will do this line with the Data Protection Legislation and the NHS Confidentiality Code of Practice (2003).
We share anonymous information with local authorities and the police for the purposes of crime mapping.
We do not share information, in the ways described above, regarding treatment you may have received in the specialities of sexually transmitted infections and human fertilisation and embryology (not withstanding any legal requirements imposed on the trust).
The Department of Health & Social Care mandates all NHS Trusts to undertake clinical audits on care delivered to patients, which can be undertaken by clinical staff employed by us or by external audit companies. This could involve individuals who have not been involved with your direct care accessing your medical records. Further information on national clinical audit can be found by clicking here.
We have an annual clinical audit programme which requires clinical staff to participate. Clinical staff consider patient medical records to review the care provided, and to identify ways in which the care could be improved in the future.
Prostate brachtherapy survival outcomes
Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust (RSCH) has received approval from the Confidentiality Advisory Group (CAG reference 18/CAG/0092) to carry out an audit following up patients who were treated with a pioneering low dose rate prostate brachytherapy from its introduction to 31.10.2014 who have subsequently died. For the purpose of auditing prostate cancer specific survival outcomes, RSFT has applied for information regarding cause(s) of death provided by NHS Digital to review and update the Trust Brachybase data registry.
Undertaking research is an important element of providing healthcare. Clinical staff are actively encouraged to participate in research trials. The Trust’s Research and Development Department manages all research projects undertaken by us. Your participation in a research project will only take place with your explicit consent, or if the national Confidentiality Advisory Group agrees that it should have special permission to undertake research without consent. This is called Section 251 approval. The Trust occasionally works with other organisations e.g. universities and external organisations to pilot new ways of working, with the aim to provide improved and more efficient services to patients. Where the Trust undertakes this work you will be informed and be asked if you wish to participate.
Research – National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service (NCRAS)
Public Health England (PHE) is responsible for managing the National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service (NCRAS). Cancer Registration in England has been running since the start of the NHS and collects data on all patients with cancer or a reasonable suspicion of cancer. The data includes information on the diagnosis, treatment and outcomes of cancer patients. The data is then linked to other information including information from PROMS and Patient Experience surveys. Although originally used as a resource for epidemiology and public health the Registration Service data is now used extensively for health service evaluation, clinical audit, basic and clinical research, commissioning and increasingly to support direct patient care. For further information on how your data is used and how you can request access to information held on you, please click here.
Should you wish to request to ‘opt-out’ of your identifiable data being collected and stored for this purpose, please contact Public Health England – email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to:
National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service
Public Health England
133-155 Waterloo Road
For further information regarding patient surveys that the Trust is participating, please click on the links below:
National Opt-out - what you need to know
Whenever you use a health or care service, such as attending Accident & Emergency or using Community Care services, important information about you is collected in a patient record for that service. Collecting this information helps to ensure you get the best possible care and treatment.
The information collected about you when you use these services can also be used and provided to other organisations for purposes beyond your individual care, for instance to help with:
This may only take place when there is a clear legal basis to use this information. All these uses help to provide better health and care for you, your family and future generations. Confidential patient information about your health and care is only used like this where it is allowed by law.
Most of the time, anonymised data is used for research and planning so that you cannot be identified in which case your confidential patient information is not needed.
You have a choice about whether you want your confidential patient information to be used in this way. If you are happy with this use of information you do not need to do anything. If you do choose to opt out your confidential patient information will still be used to support your individual care.
Alternatively you can speak to an advisor in NHS Digital Contact Centre, telephone; 0300 303 5678 - Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm (excluding bank holidays). They can help you use the online service and make changes of your choice on your behalf.
You can also find out more about how patient information is used at:
You can change your mind about your choice at any point in time.
Health and care organisations have until 2020 to put systems and processes in place so they can be compliant with the national data opt-out and apply your choice to any confidential patient information they use or share for purposes beyond your individual care. RSFT ‘is currently’ compliant with the national data opt-out policy.
Complaints and Legal Claims
In order to deal with issues raised by you or to process your complaint or legal claim, staff within our Legal Department and Complaints Department will access your medical records and may share this information with other staff as well as external third parties where applicable, including our solicitors or NHS Resolve (Formerly NHS Litigation Authority).
We take patient safety very seriously. If an incident occurs which was not expected we will investigate it, therefore the staff involved in your care, with support from the Trust’s Risk Management Department, will access your medical records.
Royal Surrey Hospital Fundraising Charities
Foundation Trust Membership
The Trust has a membership for all from the local communities we serve to become involved with supporting us and to help shape the future of Royal Surrey and the services we offer local people.
When you use our website or interact with our social media presence (e.g. Twitter, Instagram and Facebook) your data (e.g. comments, likes, reviews) may be visible to providers of social networking services and their users.
We suggest that you review the privacy and security settings of your social media accounts to ensure you understand how your data maybe shared and used.
Closed Circuit Television (CCTV)
The Trust makes use of CCTV systems for crime prevention in line with the Information Commissioners CCTV code of practice.
If you email us
Please note that we may use email monitoring or blocking software.
You have a responsibility to ensure that any email you send to us is within the bounds of the law.
Please note that emails sent to us may not be secure in transit, and we cannot take any responsibility for the security of your email before it is received by the Trust and we may choose not to reply via email if we have concerns regarding confidentiality and/or security.
If you email us or give us your email address then you accept that we may communicate with you via email.
Email is not a guaranteed delivery service – if your communication is important, please confirm we have received it by other means.
It is your responsibility to ensure we and your G.P. have up to date contact details for you.
The Trust does not carry out automated decision making but will endeavour to identify people who may benefit from additional services (profiling) for example those who attend our emergency department frequently.
Appropriate staff, for example clinicians, would make the actual decisions based on the available information.
There are times when it may be necessary to be able to track back to the patient details. In these cases the patient detail is replaced by a code and we keep the code in the Trust. This is called pseudonymisation.
Your right to be informed:
This means you have a right to be informed about the way we collect and use your data.
Your right to rectification:
This means you have the right to have inaccurate (incorrect or misleading as to any matter of fact) personal data corrected or completed.
Your right to have your personal information erased
This right is not absolute and only applies in certain circumstances.
It does not apply to Health Records which are legal documents under the Public Records Act 1950.
You can request whether in writing or verbally to have your information erased. We will respond to your request within one month.
When does the right to erasure not apply?
If the processing is necessary for public health purposes in the public interest (e.g. protecting against serious cross-border threats to health, or ensuring high standards of quality and safety of health care and of medicinal products or medical devices); or
Your right to Restrict processing:
This means that you can request the processing of your data is blocked and your data stored separately.
You have the right to restrict the processing of your information in the following circumstances:
How might we restrict processing?
When will a restriction be removed?
Once we have made a decision on the accuracy of the data, or whether our legitimate grounds override those of the individual, we may decide to lift the restriction. We will inform you before we lift the restriction.
Your right to data portability
This means that you can request a secure transfer of your data to another Data Controller.
The right to data portability only applies when:
Your Right to object
This means that you have the right to object to the Trust processing your data where the processing is based on:
You must have an objection on “grounds relating to your particular situation”
We will stop processing your information unless:
Your right to withdraw your consent
This means that in situations where you have given your explicit consent for your information to be processed you have the right to withdraw your explicit consent for the processing of your information. Please note that this does not apply to your individual care which is provided under other legal basis (refer to Section 2 above).
You can withdraw your consent by informing the department / team that took your consent. You can do this in writing or verbally.
The fact that consent may be obtained for confidentiality purposes does not mean that consent must also be the lawful basis applied for the purposes of processing data in compliance with the Data Protection Legislation. Well established national guidance on confidentiality remains applicable.
It should be noted that:
If you would like to know more about how we use your information or if, for any reason, you do not wish to have your information used in any of the ways described in this leaflet, then please speak to your health care professional.
You can also contact:
Head of Information Governance
Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Tel: 01483 571 122
If you feel that we have not adequately dealt with your query or complaint regarding how we process your information you can raise the issue with the Information Commissioner who is the supervisory authority for the United Kingdom (the Regulator) at the address below:
Information Commissioner’s Office
By phone: 0303 123 1113
By email email@example.com
The Data Protection legislation allows you to find out what information is held about you on computer and in certain manual records, including your health records, personnel files (for staff) and other systems. This is known as “Right of Subject Access”, or, a Subject Access Request. The Act says that the information should be provided within a calendar month but we aim to provide the information as soon as possible.
Although the Act does not require you to fill in a form this will help the Trust in identifying the information you require and guide you in what proof of identity you need to provide and the fee, if applicable. The Act does require you to put your request in writing and if you choose to do so by letter we would ask you to be as clear as possible in stating the information you require and to provide the proofs of identity and fee where appropriate. We have provided forms at the end of this leaflet.
Please be as detailed as possible when requesting information, for instance stating date ranges, appointment types or specific letters.
Before records are released we will seek the advice of the consultant in charge of the patient care to ensure that no information about an individual’s physical or mental health or condition will be released if it would be likely to cause harm to them or another person’s physical or mental health condition. We will also withhold information provided by third parties where we don’t have consent to release it or where the patient has made it clear that they did not want the information disclosed.
3. People who can apply for Staff, Volunteer, Job Applicant Information:
4. For people who do not fall into the categories above (this may include relatives, carers, friends or visitors), the Trust may still hold information about you as part of other records. Only the applicant themselves can request this information.
5. Proof of Identity
Please enclose copies of two proofs of ID, one from each category:-
Additional information may also be required:
For a parent guardian request for a child, please also provide copies of:
For a request regarding a deceased patient a copy of one of the following:
For a request from any person with a claim arising from the death of a person:
6. There are no fees for access to Patients records.
7. You can ask for corrections to the record. The Trust will either make the necessary correction or make a note in the relevant part of the record of the matters which you say are inaccurate. You will be provided with a copy of the correction or note free of charge.
8. In line with Data Protection Act guidelines we aim to provide access to the records or provide a copy of the record within calendar month of receipt of the completed application form and the fee (if applicable). Please bear in mind the turnaround time if you have upcoming appointments where the records may be required.
9. If you wish to make a complaint on any aspect of the way in which we have handled your request for access to your information, you can write to the Complaints Department.
10. Confidentiality – Everyone has the right to have their information kept confidential and record holders are obliged to be satisfied that an applicant is who they say they are, or is otherwise entitled to access of that information. Please provide proofs of your ID with your application as defined above.
11. The information that you provide in the course of making an application will only be used for the purposes of processing the application. We retain the application in accordance with the Records management Code of Practice for Health and Social Care 2016. This is currently 3 years following close of the request or 6 years where there has been a subsequent appeal. At the end of the period it will be destroyed in a secure and confidential manner.
Please send completed application form / letter of request to:
Patient Records Only:
Healthcare Records Manager
Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Telephone: (01483) 571122 extension. 2032 or 2564
Other access requests other than Patient Records:
Head of Information Governance
Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Telephone: (01483) 571 122 extension 2504