In some circumstances, healthcare staff share information about your treatment and care to help us to improve the services we offer and the care we provide to everyone. The type of information shared, and how it is shared, is controlled by law and strict confidentiality rules.
In order to plan and improve care for all patients it is important that we link information form the different places where you receive care to help us provide a full picture. This will let us compare the care received in one area to the care received in another, so we can see what worked best.
Your postcode or NHS number, rather than your name, will be used to link your records in a secure system, so your identity is protected. Information which does not reveal your identity can then be used by others, such as researches and those planning services, to make sure we provide the best care possible for everyone.
Benefits of sharing information
Sharing information can help improve understanding, locally and nationally, of the most important health needs and the quality of the treatment and care provided by local health services. It may also help researches by supporting studies that identify patterns in diseases, responses to different treatments and potential solutions.
- find more effective ways of preventing, treating and managing illnesses;
- guide local decisions about changes that are needed to respond to the needs of local patients;
- Support public health by anticipating risks of particular diseases and conditions, and help us to take action to prevent problems;
- improve the public's understanding of the outcomes of care, giving them confidence in health and care services, and
- guide decisions about how to manage NHS resources so that they can best support the treatment and management of illness for the benefit of patients.
Do you have a choice?
Yes. If you do not want information that identifies you from being shared outside your GP practice, tell your practice to make a note of this in your medical record. This will prevent your confidential information being used other than where necessary by law (eg: if there is a public health emergency)
Do you need to do anything?
If you are happy for your information to be shared to help improve services, you do not need to do anything. There is no form to fill in and nothing to sign, and you can change your mind at any time.
If you have concerns, speak to your GP practice.