Your Medical Records
How your records are used to help you
As you know, your doctor and the team of health professionals caring for you keep your health and the care you receive from the National Health Service. These are important to help ensure that you receive the best possible care from us.
Your records are used in the following ways to guide and administer the care you receive:
- To ensure that your doctor or nurse has accurate and up to date information to assess your health and decide what care you need when you visit in the future.
- To ensure that full information is available, should you see another doctor, or be referred to a specialist or another part of the NHS.
- To ensure that there is a good basis for looking back and checking on the type and quality of care you have received.
- To ensure that your concerns can be properly investigated if you need to complain.
Your records also help to plan NHS services for the future and ensure that there is a good basis for checking that NHS money has been well spent and that staff are paid for the work they have done.
Whilst always preserving your confidentiality, your records can also help us to help you by:
- assisting with the teaching and training of health care professionals (but you can choose whether or not to be involved personally)
- assisting with health research. (If you need to be personally involved with the research, you will be contacted to see if you are willing to participate. You will not be identified without your agreement.)
If you do not want certain information recorded on your records, please talk to your doctor.
Keeping your records confidential
Your doctors, their staff and everyone else working for the NHS have a legal duty to maintain the highest level of confidentiality about patient information.
In some instances, you may be receiving care from other people as well as the NHS. We may need to share some information about you with them, so that we can all work together for your benefit. Anyone who receives confidential information about you from us is also under a legal duty of confidence. Unless there are exceptional circumstances, for example, when the health or safety of others is at risk, we will not disclose your information to third parties without your permission.
We will only give your relatives, friends and carers information if you want us to.
In certain circumstances, we are required by law to report information to the appropriate authorities. This information is only provided after formal authority has been given by a qualified health professional. For example:
- notification of new births
- where we encounter infectious diseases which may endanger the safety of others (eg meningitis or measles, but not HIV/AIDS)
- where a formal court order has been issued
However, our guiding principle is that we are holding your records in strict confidence.
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