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Patient Advice and Liaison Service 

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Why we ask for information, what we do with it, and how we share information

Why information is collected about you?

  • To give you the best possible health care and treatment

  • To help manage and plan services for you

  • To help monitor and evaluate services

  • To help with teaching and research

  • To avoid delays in searching for your medical records

  • To identify what types of illness the general public suffers from and to plan better care (this information is sometimes passed for entry to national registers eg the diabetic register, cancer register, transplant databases held about various illnesses)

What information is collected about you?

  • Your personal details

  • Your physical health and/or mental health

  • Treatments you have received

If you are uncertain why a question is relevant to your healthcare, please ask a member of staff to explain.

Where is the Information kept?

Some information is kept in written records and some is kept on computer records. Sometimes information is kept both ways. All computers are password controlled. All records are stored in secure areas, locked in cabinets or locked rooms.

How is your information shared and with whom?

Health professionals directly involved in your care will have access to your personal details.

You may be receiving care from other health professionals as well as the NHS. So that we can all work together for your benefit, we may need to share some information about you.

We only share information about you if people have a genuine need for it, in yours and everyone’s interests. Whenever we can we shall remove details, which identify you. The sharing of some types of very sensitive personal information is strictly controlled by law.

Sometimes the law requires us to pass on information, for example, to notify a birth.

Sometimes we need to share information without your consent, if by not doing so, there is a probable risk of serious harm to an individual or to the rest of the community at large, or the courts order us to do so.


Everyone working in the NHS has a legal duty to keep information about you confidential

All personal information both on computer and in written records is protected by the Data Protection Act 1998

Anyone who receives information from us is also under a legal obligation to keep it confidential.

We will assume you are happy for staff to share information about you, unless you specifically request us not to do so.

See also: Confidential Information

Your rights under the data Protection Act 1998

  • You have a right to see information held about you (see subject access below)

  • You have the right to prevent use of your data if it is likely to cause distress

  • You have a right to seek compensation if you suffer damage due to the way information is used about you

  • You have a right to ask for a record to be corrected if you believe factual information is wrong

How to access your records – subject access

As a patient you must request access to information in writing to: Health Records Manager (01284 713456) who will:

  1. Deal with the access requests or

  2. Request more details from you to ensure they are dealing with the correct patient

  3. Make a charge, depending on the size and complexity of the request (maximum £50)

  4. Request the fee is paid prior to you receiving the information the Trust holds

  5. Comply with the request within 40 days from receipt of the fee

See also: Accessing your health records

If you would like to know more about what is done with your information, please contact The Information Security Officer.


From Patient Information Leaflet 5080-1, issued 31/01/03


What is PALS?
Patient & Public Involvement
Patient Information Leaflets
Your Guide to the NHS
How can I find more information?
Comments, Complaints & Concerns
Formal Complaints
ICAS - Independent Complaints Advocacy Service
Support Groups
West Suffolk Cancer Support Groups
Why information is collected about you
Accessing your health records
Confidential Information
Information about your discharge
NHS Funded Continuing Health Care
PPI Strategy & Framework
How the service is being used
Case Studies

Contact us by or telephone: 01284 712555

West Suffolk Hospitals NHS Trust

Last Modified: March 2003