Data Protection 

Barts Health NHS Trust is committed to protecting your privacy when you use our services. This privacy notice explains how we use information about you and how we protect your privacy.

Where can I get 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 07710064950. Alternatively, you could write to:

Data Protection Officer
Barts Health NHS Trust
Lower Ground Floor
9 Prescot Street
E1 8PR

Social media participation policy

Being part of our online community

We welcome and encourage open discussion and comments on our social media sites. We look forward to hearing from you in all circumstances, including when you want to share a criticism of the hospital. However, we work hard to ensure our forums are a supportive environment for our patients, families, staff and the general community and we expect that your comments and posts will always be respectful of others.

Please note that comments and posts that we consider offensive, abusive, bullying or which unreasonably upset our community will be deleted immediately. Participants who repeatedly post inappropriate material will be blocked from the site.

Visitors who perpetuate views that are contradicted by evidence-based research and global health expertise, and which pose a threat to public and individual health, will be immediately blocked. This includes participants who harass other visitors to the page with incorrect medical information.

If we are made aware of any comments made on social media sites, outside of our social media pages, that are threatening, unlawful or abusive, and relate to or involve our organisation; we will investigate these comments and take any necessary action to protect the hospital, our staff, patients and families.

When participating in conversations or posting comments on social media sites, please keep these important factors in mind. Always remember that when you post a comment to a blog or social media site, it is published for the world to see. For your own privacy and that of your family, you should consider carefully how much detailed personal medical information linked to your name you want published on the Internet. We recommend you also exercise caution and avoid posting detailed personal information like your location, financial information, etc.

Thank you for supporting and contributing to the Barts Health social community.

Monitoring our social media channels

We makes a significant effort to monitor and respond to posts and questions on our social media platforms, however we may not always be able to respond to all posts or answer online requests for information in a timely manner, particularly outside business hours.

By submitting content to any of the Barts Health social media sites (wall posts, comments, photos, links, etc.), you understand and acknowledge that this information is available to the public, and that we may use this information for internal and external communications, promotional and fundraising purposes.

Please note that other participants may use your posted information beyond the control of Barts Health. If you do not wish to have the information you have made available via the above mentioned sites used, published, copied and/or reprinted, please do not post it on any of these sites.

General Data Protection Regulation

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 when you use our services. This privacy notice explains how we collect and use personal information about you and how we protect your privacy. It will tell you:

  • what personal information is
  • 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 right to object to information processing
  • 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 is personal information?

Personal information can be:

  • Anything that identifies a living individual, either on its own or when put together with other information. Examples of personal information are name, address, telephone number, National Insurance number or hospital number.
  • Sensitive details about an individual, which they would not usually want to be widely known without their consent. Examples of sensitive information are a person’s physical or mental health record, genetic or biometric data, their racial or ethnic origin, sexuality, and political or religious beliefs.   

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). 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

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.

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.

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 anything other than your own individual care.

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.

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)).

Can you object to our processing of 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).

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 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?

The Trust has 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 at or by calling 020 7480 4892 and asking to speak to the Data Protection Officer. If you prefer you can write to:

Data Protection Officer
Barts Health NHS Trust
3rd Floor, 9 Prescot Street
London E1 8PR

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)




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