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How we protect your personal information

Privacy (fair processing) notice

The Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (RBCH) keeps records about the health care and treatment that you receive as one of our patients. We also collect information when you voluntarily complete satisfaction surveys, provide feedback and speak to a member of our team.

Keeping records helps to ensure that you receive the best possible care from us. It helps you because

  • Accurate and up-to-date information assists us in providing you with the right care and treatments, and the right medicines
  • Full information is readily available if you see another doctor in hospital or are referred to a specialist or another part of the NHS
  • Reviews can be carried out to make sure that you have received the best care and best service possible

It helps the NHS to:

  • Prepare statistics on NHS performance
  • Audit NHS services
  • Monitor how we spend public money
  • Plan and manage the health service
  • Teach and train healthcare professionals
  • Conduct health research and development

The information that we record includes administrative details, including:

  • full name and address
  • date of birth
  • telephone/mobile number
  • next of kin

and details about your care, including:

  • when and where appointments with us take place
  • the medical condition for which you were referred to us
  • when your treatment or care was completed or when you were referred on to someone else
  • clinical details about diagnostic tests including scans, images and samples
  • what medication you have been given
  • other information related to your care and treatment.

Further details regarding how we use your information can be found within the sections below.

Medical care

Within the hospital, your personal and medical information is held electronically on secure IT systems, and in some cases in paper files within a secure records library.

We record the information about you and your health in order to provide all aspects of your care and treatment as a patient of the hospital. Medical information may also be used, where necessary, to plan and manage the services provided to you by the hospital.

This is limited only to the information that we need, and every care is taken to keep information about you secure and confidential.

Local clinical audit

As part of providing your care and treatment, your information may also be used for the assurance of safe and high quality care and treatment through local audits, carried out by the doctors involved with you care. These reviews are carried out under the approval of the Trust's Medical Director, and no personal details are released as a result of this work unless you have given your permission for this.

National clinical audits and registers

In some cases, NHS organisations are mandated to submit information about patients to national clinical audits or registers. Examples include the National Joint Registry and National Vascular Registry. This enables practice to be monitored on a national level, as well as enabling the review of patient outcomes in order to improve the care provided. This information is only shared with legal approval from the Department of Health and Social Care and the Secretary of State for Health. You have the right to opt out of being included in any such registers or national audits. Please see the section "Your rights", below.

Incident management

If you are involved in an incident, for example if you slip or fall while in the hospital, your information may be included in the incident report and used as part of the investigation process.

Research and teaching

RBCH participates in various medical research studies, and you may be asked to participate in these. While always preserving confidentiality, your records can also help us with teaching and training. Any reports or papers resulting from this work will not identify named individuals or contain any information that could lead to you being identified unless you give your permission.

Complaints and queries

If you raise a complaint or a query with the hospital's Complaints or Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) team, the Trust's Complaints and PALS team will hold information about you within their secure database in order to ensure your complaint or query is answered appropriately by the relevant person or department. Details of complaints or queries will not be stored within your medical records.


RBCH uses CCTV in order to protect its staff and patients, as well as to protect its sites and NHS property. CCTV footage will be used for the prevention and detection of crime.

Video consultations

RBCH is offering secure video consultations to some patients, where appropriate. The information collected and used for this service is the same as described above under “Medical care”. For more information please visit

Telephone calls

Some departments within RBCH record telephone calls for the purposes of staff training and quality monitoring.

Other contexts

We may hold limited information about you if you have provided it to us outside of the above situations; for example if you have attended an event run by RBCH or completed a feedback survey. This information will only be used for the purposes for which it was collected.

We know that good communication with other healthcare professionals involved with your care is beneficial for you, and so we work closely with many organisations in order to provide you with the best possible care. This means that if another healthcare professional or service is involved in your care, it might be appropriate for us to share information with them in order that you can receive the required care.

Sharing information within the hospital

Your information will be shared between those involved in providing care to you. This includes doctors and nurses, but may also include administrative staff who deal with booking appointments or managing hospital services.

Access to information is strictly controlled and restricted to those who need it in order to do their jobs. All Trust staff receive annual training on confidentiality and have strict clauses within their employment contracts, which oblige them to respect Data Protection law and your right to confidentiality.

Sharing information outside the hospital

RBCH shares a joint local care record with Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust – this means that healthcare professionals at both hospitals can view the records of treatment that you receive at either site. This enables appropriate care to be delivered as patients move between the two Trusts.

There may be occasions when we need to share information with other NHS organisations as part of your care and treatment. After your treatment we write to your GP (family doctor) or whoever referred you to us to let them know the outcome. We will also share information about you with other NHS organisations if you have received unplanned treatment from us, such as in an Emergency.

We may also need to share information with organisations outside of the NHS (such as social services etc.). Sometimes the law requires that we must disclose or report certain information without needing to seek your permission (such as for the investigation of serious crime, child abuse or infectious diseases that may endanger the safety of others). That is only done after formal authorisation from a qualified health professional, or an official request from the Courts. Unless there are exceptional circumstances such as these, we will not disclose your information to third parties without your permission.

You have the right to request that your confidential information is not used beyond your own care and treatment by refusing or withdrawing your permission to information sharing at any time. If you choose to prohibit your information from being disclosed to other health professionals involved in providing care, it might mean that the care that can be provided is limited and, in extremely rare circumstances, that it is not possible to offer certain treatment options.

In order to manage and plan services within the NHS we may need to share some of the information held about you and your care, in an anonymous format that cannot identify you. Anonymous information is not used to make any decisions about the treatment or care that you receive directly from the service caring for you.

Dorset Care Record

RBCH contributes to the Dorset Care Record (DCR), which is an electronic record linking health and social care information from Dorset General Practices (doctors' surgeries), Borough of Poole Council, Bournemouth Borough Council, Dorset County Council, Dorset County Hospital, Dorset Healthcare, NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Poole Hospital, and Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals to improve care in Dorset.

The DCR brings together records from all of these organisations to provide a single overall picture of your health and wellbeing, which is then accessible to the agencies that you are involved with.

For further information on the DCR, please contact your GP (family doctor) or see the following website:

GP records

After your treatment we write to your GP (family doctor) or whoever referred you to us to let them know the outcome. If you would like a copy of this correspondence then please ask.

In some cases, it might be helpful for designated hospital staff to check your GP records, for example to check what medicines you are taking or to see if you have any allergies. These records will only be viewed with your explicit permission (except in an emergency where it is not possible to discuss this with you first), in accordance with the preferences that you have set with your GP. If you have chosen for nobody other than your GP to be able to view the records that they hold, hospital staff will not be able to see these.

Care and Health Information Exchange (CHIE) – formerly Hampshire Health Record

If you are registered with a GP (family doctor) in Hampshire, and you have opted in to having a record within the CHIE, RBCH will share copies of discharge letters directly to the CHIE. If you have opted out of having a record with the CHIE, your information will still be shared with your GP via other means.

Third parties

RBCH works closely with third party organisations to provide some of its specialist and support services, such as providing appointment reminders to patients, or providing online video consultations. These organisations are employed under contracts with strict confidentiality and information handling clauses. Only the minimum necessary information is ever shared with third parties.

In some very rare cases we may need to share information about you with companies outside of Europe, for example where highly specialised, bespoke medical devices or components are being manufactured overseas. Wherever possible this information will not include your name, address or contact information and will be strictly limited to the information that is necessary for the service being provided. Your doctor will discuss this with you before any information is shared.

RBCH will keep information for the amount of time it is required to as set out in the NHS Records Management Code of Practice for Health and Social Care. For most hospital records this is 8 years, however some records, such as records of cancer treatment, may need to be kept for longer.

Further details regarding retention periods can be found here:

You have the right to:

  • restrict or object to the use of your information in certain circumstances
  • ask us for a copy of your medical records
  • ensure that we hold accurate information about you by asking for errors to be corrected
  • withhold or withdraw your permission to use and share information in certain circumstances
  • raise a complaint with the UK data protection regulator, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO)

To make a request for copies of your records, please see "Accessing your information" section (below). For queries about other rights, please contact the Data Protection Officer in the first instance (see "Contact Us" section).

The national data opt-out

As explained in this notice, your information will primarily be used for providing care and treatment. However it is sometimes useful for the NHS to use this information for other purposes beyond this; for example, to research new treatments, decide where to put GP clinics and plan for the number of doctors and nurses in local hospitals.

You can choose whether your confidential patient information is used for these purposes beyond your care and treatment, and may opt out if you wish. This will not affect the care or treatment that you receive, and you will also be able to participate in individual research trials if you wish.

The national data opt-out is managed centrally by NHS Digital. You can set or change your opt-out preference at any time. For more information, visit, or telephone 0300 303 5678.

You have the right to know what information is held about you and you can apply to access your clinical records by contacting the Medico/Legal Department. To make a request, please write to:

Subject Access Requests
Medico/Legal Department – Stour Building
Royal Bournemouth Hospital
Castle Lane East

Or telephone: (01202) 303626.

You can also write directly to the Data Protection Officer (see "Contact Us" section).

The Data Protection Act and General Data Protection Regulation sets out the rules for protecting personal information held on computer systems, on paper and in other formats, which we must follow.

RBCH is registered with the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) as a data controller. The registration number is Z4787705

RBCH must have a legal reason (known as a "lawful basis") to hold and use your information. We are legally allowed to hold and use personal information in the exercise of official authority – that is, so the hospital can provide NHS services to you in its role as a public sector organisation. Additionally, RBCH is legally allowed to hold and use sensitive information about your medical history and treatment for the purposes of providing you with direct medical care and managing healthcare services, and to protect your vital interests. Certain medical information is used for the purposes of the protection of public health, such as for notification of infectious diseases.

If you are dissatisfied with the handling of your personal information, you have the right to make a complaint. In the first instance, formal complaints should be addressed to:

Complaints Department
The Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Castle Lane East
(01202) 303626

You also have the right to make a complaint directly to the Information Commissioner – the UK's independent body set up to uphold information rights. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane

If you have any questions about this notice or about how your information is used, you can contact us

Please write to:

Data Protection Officer
Royal Bournemouth Hospital
Castle Lane East
Telephone: (01202) 303626

This notice was reviewed in July 2020.

We will review and update this notice regularly in line with guidance issued by the Information Commissioner's Office, the Department of Health and NHS Digital.

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