Data Protection

Barts Health NHS Trust is required to comply with the laws and regulations that apply to protecting your data and how it is used. They are the General Data Protection Regulation 2016 (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018.

Looking after your personal information 

Barts Health NHS Trust is committed to protecting your privacy and the data we collect and use to provide our services.   We are required to comply with the laws and regulations that apply to protecting your data and how it is used. They are the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018.

This privacy notice explains how we use information about you and how we keep it safe, and protect your privacy.

This privacy notice applies to any personal data collected by us or on our behalf, by any format – phone, letter, email, online, or face to face.

It will tell you:

  • what information we collect about you
  • where we get your information from
  • why we collect your information
  • how we keep your information safe
  • how long we keep your information
  • why we are allowed to process your information
  • your rights as a data subject
  • when we may pass your information on to other people or organisations
  • when we may transfer your information to other countries
  • where to get further advice   

What information do we collect?

Depending on your circumstances and the nature of the health care you require, we may collect the following information about you:

  • Your general details (such as name, address, date of birth, telephone number)
  • Details about your GP
  • Your medical history
  • Any medications you are taking
  • Details about your physical or mental health
  • Your family details (for example, your next of kin)
  • Your ethnicity
  • Your religious beliefs
  • Your lifestyle and social circumstances
  • Your sexual life
  • Scans, x-rays, and other diagnostic images
  • Your genetic or biometric data

The information we collect about you may be written down in a paper file (manual record), or held on a computer system (electronic record).

In some cases the information we hold about you might be provided directly by you through the use of a mobile application or wearable technology (like a diabetes pump).  We   may also record CCTV images in public areas as part of the Trust's security arrangements and for crime prevention.

You have the right to receive a copy of your medical records via a Subject Access Request.

Where do we get your information from?

A lot of the personal information provided to us comes directly from our patients. In certain circumstances, we may also receive personal data from:

  • Parents, relatives or carers
  • General Practitioners (GPs)
  • Other NHS trusts, hospitals, clinics or hospices
  • Ambulance trusts
  • Local authorities
  • Private healthcare providers

We use information from other providers to make sure that you receive quality care. One way that we do this is through the East London Patient Record. You can read more about that here.

Why does Barts Health collect your information?

To provide your care

The doctors and other health professionals caring for you need to keep records about your health and the treatments you have received from the NHS and other healthcare providers, in order to be able to provide you with the most effective care. It is in your interests as a patient for a full and complete record to be collected, so that we have accurate, up to date information about you.

To carry out medical research

We may also process your data to carry out scientific or historical research. The Health Research Authority sets standards for NHS organisations to make sure they protect your privacy and comply with the law when they do research work. When Barts Health uses your data for research purposes we will ensure that appropriate safeguards are in place, such as using the minimum amount of data needed or making sure you cannot be identified by the data. We will also make sure that the research will benefit our patients or the wider public and has the relevant ethics approval.

Sometimes a member of your care team may review your health records to see if you might be a good candidate for any research we have planned. However, except in very specific circumstances, we are required to inform you first and get your explicit consent before we are allowed to use any of your information for research. We will not use data from private or non-NHS patients for research purposes.

We use the same definition of the 'care team' that the Health and Research Authority use- this come from the Information Governance Review in 2013 by the National Data Guardian. It states: 'direct care is provided by health and social care staff working in 'care teams', which may include doctors, nurses and a wide range of staff on regulated professional registers, including social workers.... Care teams may also contain members of staff, who are not registered with a regulatory authority, but who may need access to a proportion of somones's personal data to provide care safely.'

If you do not want your personal information to be used for planning and research, you may express your preference under the National Data Opt-Out Programme. You can use this service to request that your confidential patient information is not used for  research without your consent.  

To help run our hospitals and improve our service

We may also need to use some information about you to:

  • manage the healthcare services we provide
  • help investigate any complaints, claims or incidents
  • match data under the National Fraud Initiative
  • help us to plan new services
  • help us keep track of spending on our services
  • prepare performance statistics for the Department of Health and other regulatory bodies
  • assist in clinical audits of the quality of our services

After you attend one of our hospitals you may receive a text message asking you to rate how happy you were with your visit. This is a national service called the Friends and Family Test, and it gives NHS users an opportunity to give feedback on their experience. When you receive a Friends and Family Test message by text, you will have the option to opt out of any future messages from this service if you wish to do so.

How do we protect your information?

Everyone working for the NHS has a legal duty to maintain the highest levels of confidentiality, and all Barts Health staff receive training in how to handle your information securely. Except in certain specific circumstances, your records will generally only be seen by those involved in providing or administering your care.

Your paper healthcare records are stored in physically secure areas and electronic records held on computer systems are protected by appropriate technology (such as data encryption and access controls).

If you decide to send or receive personal information by email, please be aware that Barts Health cannot be responsible for the security of the information during its transfer to or from our email system, or for any loss or compromise of the information due to technical or security issues occurring outside our computer networks. We do have a secure email option that we can use for transfer of sensitive data, upon request. To use this you will need to set up an account with Egress once we have sent you an invitation.

How long will we keep your information?

There is often a legal reason for keeping your personal information for a set period of time. Our policy for keeping information is based on Appendix 3 of the NHS Records management Code of Practice for Health and Social Care 2016. Please see this document to find out how long we will keep different kinds of information about our patients.

Why are we allowed to process your information?

Under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) most of the Trust’s processing of personal information is carried out under the lawful basis of ‘Public Task’, because the processing is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest (GDPR Article 6(1)(e)). This allows us to process your information because it is necessary for public health purposes and for the purposes of preventative or occupational medicine.

We will also process more sensitive information (such as your medical history) because it is necessary for the purposes of preventative or occupational medicine, medical diagnosis, and the provision of healthcare (GDPR Article 9(2)(h)) or for scientific research and statistical purposes (GDPR Article 9(2)(j)).

What are your rights as a data subject?

Under the General Data Protection Regulation you have a number of rights as a data subject. These are:

The right to be informed

We are required to inform you about how we collect and use your personal information (for example, by the information given in this Privacy Notice).

The right to access

By law you are entitled to request a copy of the information we hold about you. This is known as a Subject Access Request. We will aim to provide the requested information to you within 30 days, but if we are unable to do so then we will explain the reasons to you. In most cases we will provide a copy of the information to you for free but there are some circumstances where we will need to charge.

At times we may not be able to share your whole record with you, particularly if the record contains confidential information about other people, information which could cause harm to your or someone else’s physical or mental wellbeing, or which might affect a police investigation.

More information about making a request can be found on our health records page.

The right to rectification

You may request that we make changes to any data we hold about you that is incorrect or incomplete. We will take action to rectify inaccuracies in the personal information we hold about you when it is drawn to our attention. Sometimes it may be necessary to add an explanatory note to your information (an addendum) rather than change the original record. We would do this to ensure that we have all necessary information available to provide your care (your complete medical history, for example).

The right to erasure

In most cases you are not able to request that we erase the medical information that we hold about you for your direct care and public health purposes, under our lawful basis for processing your data as set out in the GDPR.

The right to restrict processing

You may request that we restrict the processing of your information in certain circumstances, for example if you believe it to be inaccurate. In most cases a restriction of processing is a temporary measure while we investigate your concerns. The right to restrict processing is not an absolute right, and we may decide not to restrict the processing of your information if we consider that processing to be necessary for the purpose of the public interest or for the purpose of your legitimate interests.

The right to object to us processing your personal information

In addition to your other rights as a data subject (see below), you have the right to object to the processing of your personal information, although you must give specific reasons for your objection based upon your particular concerns. This is not an absolute right and depending on the circumstances we may decide that there are compelling and legitimate grounds for us to continue to process your information. If we do decide to continue processing your information we will let you know and explain the reasons for our decision to you. You would also have the right to challenge our decision, for example, with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

If you wish to object to the processing of your personal information by Barts Health then please get in touch with the Trust’s Data Protection Officer (their contact details are given at the end of this notice).

The right to data portability

The Trust’s basis for processing your data under the GDPR means that we are not legally required to provide your information in a machine-readable form, although we will try to provide information that you have asked us for (such as under a Subject Access Request) in the format you prefer if it is practical for us to do so.

Rights related to automated decision making (including profiling)

Barts Health does not make automated decisions about patients or carry out evaluations based on any automated processes (profiling). 

Do we pass your information on to other people or organisations?

When we are required to do so, we will ensure that we seek your consent before sharing your personal information with other people. We will not pass your personal information to your friends, relatives or carers without your explicit consent. If you are unable to consent for any reason, we will only share information where it is clearly in your best interests to do so or it is required by law.

The Trust sometimes needs to share the personal information we process with other organisations. When we do this we are required to comply with all aspects of the General Data Protection Regulation. Where necessary we also have data sharing agreements in place with our partner organisations which will state the specific ways in which the shared data can be used.

The organisations we share information with can include:

  • other public and private healthcare, social and welfare organisations
  • central and local government organisations
  • police forces and security organisations
  • public and private service providers, suppliers of medical equipment and support systems
  • public and private auditors and audit bodies
  • legal representatives
  • survey and research organisations
  • professional advisers and consultants

The reasons why we would share your information can include:

  • notification of births and deaths
  • an emergency (when there is risk of loss of life or limb)
  • to control infectious diseases (such as meningitis or tuberculosis)
  • child protection
  • when required by a formal court order
  • for the prevention or detection of a crime

Do we transfer your information to other countries?

The Trust may sometimes use service providers who process information in other countries, both within and outside the European Economic Area (EEA). Because of this it may sometimes be necessary for personal data to be transferred overseas. However, before any transfer is made Barts Health will make sure that appropriate safeguards are in place so that the transfer of the data, its processing, storage and retention are securely controlled and in full compliance with the requirements of the GDPR.

Data Protection Impact Assessments

Under GDPR regulations we are required to carry out a Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA) when undertaking new projects which involve the processing of personal data. Completing a DPIA helps us to identify any data risks at an early stage and to take steps to minimise these risks as part of the project development process.

Data Protection Impact Assessments were completed for the following projects during 2018/19:

  • Implementation of virtual consultations
  • Private patients email
  • Recruitment web forms
  • Health data management and analytical reporting system
  • Nurse shift roster survey
  • Equipment training database
  • Stroke data capture system

Please contact the data protection officer should you require any further information regarding these DPIAs.

Where can I get further advice?

We have a data protection officer who makes sure we respect your rights and follow the law. If you have any concerns or questions about how we look after your personal information, please contact the data protection officer by email or by calling 07710 064 950. Alternatively, you could write to:
Data Protection Officer
Barts Health NHS Trust
9th Floor
20 Churchill Place
Canary Wharf
E14 5HJ

For independent advice about data protection, privacy and data sharing issues, you can contact the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) at:

Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House, Water Lane
Cheshire SK9 5AF
Telephone: 0303 123 1113 (local rate) or 01625 545 745 (if you prefer to use a national rate number)

National Data Opt Out

Barts Health NHS Trust is one of many organisations working in the health and care system to improve care for patients and the public.   

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: 

• improving the quality and standards of care provided 

• research into the development of new treatments  

• preventing illness and diseases 

• monitoring safety 

• planning services 

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 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 isn’t 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. 

To find out more or to register your choice to opt out, please visit  On this web page you will: 

• See what is meant by confidential patient information 

• Find examples of when confidential patient information is used for individual care and examples of when it is used for purposes beyond individual care 

• Find out more about the benefits of sharing data 

• Understand more about who uses the data 

• Find out how your data is protected 

• Be able to access the system to view, set or change your opt-out setting 

• Find the contact telephone number if you want to know any more or to set/change your opt-out by phone  

• See the situations where the opt-out will not apply 

You can also find out more about how patient information is used at: (which covers health and care research); and (which covers how and why patient information is used, the safeguards and how decisions are made) 

You can change your mind about your choice at any time. 

Data being used or shared for purposes beyond individual care does not include your data being shared with insurance companies or used for marketing purposes and data would only be used in this way with your specific agreement. 

Health and care organisations have until 31st July 2022 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.  

Our organisation is compliant with the national data opt-out policy. 

To ensure that we comply with this the Trust will make requests to NHS Spine to review the list patients we propose to include. We will then be notified of the patients we can include in a proposed project with those patients who have opted out removed.  This request will be made for every new project, planning or research project that the national data opt-out applies to.  



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