How we use information about you - Fair Processing Notice

How we use information about you - Fair Processing Notice


Who we are

NHS East and North Hertfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is located at Charter House, Welwyn Garden City, Herts, AL8 6 JL.  For general telephone enquiries call 01707 685 000

The CCG has various roles and responsibilities, but a major part of our work involves making sure that:

  • Contracts are in place with local health service providers;
  • routine and emergency NHS services are available to patients; 
  • those services provide high quality care and value for money; and 
  • paying those services for the care and treatment they have provided. 

This is called “commissioning” and is explained in more detail in the other pages on this website.

Accurate, timely and relevant information is essential for our work to help us to design and plan current and future health and care services, evidence and review our decisions and manage budgets.

Back to top

We are committed to protecting your rights to confidentiality

We are committed at all times to protecting your privacy and will only use information ethically and lawfully in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Data Protection Act 2018, the Human Rights Act 1998 and the common law duty of confidentiality.

All NHS organisations have to follow the principles and values set out in the NHS Constitution when using and sharing confidential personal information. Further information within our fair processing notice explains why we use information, who we share it with, how we protect your confidentiality and your legal rights and choices.

We want patients to understand:

  • How the CCG uses and shares information;
  • Your individual rights;
  • When you can choose to opt-out of your personal information being collected or shared and what this will mean to you.

Back to top

Sharing and Consent

Your personal information will only be shared in accordance with your rights under the General Data Protection Regulation, Data Protection Act 2018, the Common Law duty of confidentiality, the NHS Constitution and in keeping with professional and NHS Codes of Practice.

The Health and Social Care Information Centre (publicly known as and referred to henceforth as NHS Digital) has published a guide to confidentiality in health and social care that explains the various laws and rules about the use and sharing of confidential information.

Safe and effective care is dependent upon relevant information being shared between all those involved in caring for a patient. When an individual agrees to being treated by the wider care team, it creates a direct care relationship between the individual patient and the health and social care professional and their team. All health and adult social care providers are subject to the statutory duty under section 251B of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 to share information about a patient for their direct care. This duty is subject to both the common law duty of confidence and the GDPR and Data Protection Act 2018.

For common law purposes, sharing information for direct care is on the basis of “implied consent”, which may also cover administrative purposes where the patient has been informed or it is otherwise within their reasonable expectations.  This means that information is shared without the individual having to give verbal or written agreement each time and only applies within the context of direct care. 

Under the GDPR the lawful basis for the processing of personal data in the delivery of direct care, and for providers’ administrative purposes, will be undertaken using Article 6(1)(e), “the processing is necessary for you to perform a task in the public interest or for your official functions, and the task or function has a clear basis in law.” Personal data in relation to health are special categories of personal data and the processing of this data for direct care or administrative purposes is undertaken using Article 9(2)(h), “…medical diagnosis, the provision of health or social care or treatment or the management of health or social care systems…”

In some circumstances other duties or obligations to share information outweigh confidentiality, and personal information is shared without consent, for example to ensure the safety of a child or vulnerable adult or to report a notifiable disease. 

Your information will be used in a de-identified or anonymised form for purposes other than direct care, such as statistical and analytical information needed to assist the CCG, the NHS, Department of Health and health care partners. 

Unless there is a legal basis to share your information if it is necessary to use confidential information that identifies you for a non-direct care purpose, such as research and planning, you have the choice to opt-out. This opt-out is managed through the National Data Opt-Out programme and further information is available here: https://digital.nhs.uk/services/national-data-opt-out 

You have the right to withhold consent or object to your information being shared, but in some circumstances this may delay or affect the care you receive. Always consult your GP or relevant health professional before deciding to withhold consent to sharing your information, as they will be able to advise you on the possible outcomes of this decision.

Back to top

How the CCG uses your information

When analysing current health services and proposals for developing future services it is sometimes necessary to link separate individual datasets to be able to produce a comprehensive evaluation. This may involve linking:

  • Secondary care data (inpatient, outpatient and A&E) obtained from the secondary uses service (SUS);
  • Hospital and community based mental health services;
  • Community based physical health services;
  • Primary care data from GP health records.

Information about your health and care held in your health records is confidential and not routinely shared with the CCG for direct health care purposes. However, there may be times when we need to hold and use certain information about you, for example:

  • if we are involved in helping you to resolve a complaint with your GP or other NHS service provider;
  • if we fund specialised treatment for you for a particular health condition that is not routinely covered in our local contracts, and are known as Individual Funding Requests;
  • if you need to be clinically assessed for continuing health care requirements;
  • if our Pharmacy and Medicine Optimisation Team are involved in reviewing your medication;
  • if there are any vulnerable adult or children safeguarding issues;
  • if you are a member of our patient participation group, or have asked us to keep you up to date about our work and involved in our engagement and public consultations.

The information we hold about you personally for these purposes will, therefore, be with your knowledge and consent. For non-direct health care purposes we may also hold identifiable information, at the level of NHS number, but in most instances we use de-identified or anonymised information, these purposes include: 

  • determining the general health needs of the population;
  • ensuring that our services meet future patient needs;
  • teaching and training healthcare professionals;
  • investigating complaints or legal claims;
  • conducting health research and development;
  • check the quality and efficiency of the health services we commission;
  • preparing statistics on NHS performance;
  • auditing NHS accounts and service;
  • paying your health care provider.

Access to the identifiable information is strictly controlled and it is only used when it is absolutely necessary. The CCG currently pseudonymises much of this information for non-direct health care purposes so that the CCG does not receive information that can be used to identify individual patients. This system is called Pseudonymisation at source, for further information please see the separate section within this fair processing notice. 

If you do have any concerns about us holding your personal information then please tell us and we can explain the way this may affect our ability to help and discuss alternative arrangements available to you. 

Back to top

Information submitted via our website

If you submit a general enquiry, or Freedom of Information request via our website or email your data will be recorded in order to allow us to deal with your request.  This data will not be shared and kept in accordance with our Records Management Policy.

Back to top

Invoice validation

Invoice validation is an important process. In some circumstances it involves using your NHS number to check that we are the CCG that is responsible for paying for your treatment. The process makes sure that the organisations providing your care are paid correctly. The legal basis to use information for invoice validation is provided under Regulations made under section 251 of the NHS Act 2006 and is based on the advice of the Health Research Authority’s Confidentiality and Advisory Group (reference CAG 7-07(a) and (b)/2013.)

Back to top

Risk stratification

Risk stratification is a process GPs use to help them to identify and support patients with long-term conditions and to help prevent un-planned hospital admissions or reduce the risk of certain diseases developing such as type 2 diabetes. This is called risk stratification for case-finding and involves using your NHS number so that your GP can identify who you are. They will then clinically review this information before making any decision to discuss future healthcare options with you.

The CCG also uses risk stratified data to understand the health needs of the local population in order to plan and commission the right services. This is called risk stratification for commissioning and involves using pseudonymised data for this purpose.

Risk stratification tools use historic information about patients, such as age, gender, diagnoses and patterns of hospital attendance and admission collected by NHS Digital from NHS hospitals and community care services. This is sometimes linked to data collected in GP practices and analysed to produce a risk score. 

GPs are able to identify individual patients from the risk stratified data only when it is necessary to discuss the outcome and consider preventative care. Where the risk stratification process has linked GP data to health data obtained from other sources i.e. NHS Digital or other health care provider, the GP will ask for your permission to access the details of that information.

The legal basis to use information for risk stratification is provided under Regulations made under section 251 of the NHS Act 2006 and is based on the advice of the Health Research Authority’s Confidentiality and Advisory Group (reference CAG 7-04(a)/2013.)

Back to top

How we use information provided by NHS Digital

We use information collected by NHS Digital from healthcare providers such as hospitals, community services and GPs, which includes information about the patients who have received care and treatment from the services that we fund. 

The data we receive does not include any direct identifiable information about patients such as  names,  home addresses,  NHS number, postcode, and date of birth but is pseudonymised using a system called Pseudonymisation at Source, for further information please refer to the separate section within this fair processing notice. This information does include information on age, ethnicity and gender as well as coded information about your visits to clinics, Emergency Department, hospital admissions and other NHS services. 

The Secretary of State for Health has given limited permission for us (and other NHS commissioners) to use certain confidential patient information when it is necessary for our work and whilst changes are made to our systems that ensure de-identified information is used for all purposes other than direct care. This approval is given under Regulations made under Section 251 of the NHS Act 2006 and is based on the advice of the Health Research Authority’s Confidentiality and Advisory Group.

In order to use this data, we have to meet strict conditions that we are legally required to follow, which includes making a written commitment to NHS Digital that we will not use information in any way that would reveal your identity. These terms and conditions can be found on the NHS Digital website.

Back to top

Sharing information with our partners

We have entered into a contract with MedeAnalytics to provide analytical services for risk stratification and commissioning to the CCG and our member GP Practices. MedeAnalytics are subject to the exact same legal rules and conditions for keeping personal information confidential and secure. These conditions are set out in contracts and data sharing agreements, which specify what the information is to be used for and what they are required to do to keep it safe and protect privacy.

Currently MedeAnalytics receives and processes pseudonymised information only using a system called Pseudonymisation at Source, for further information please see the separate section within this fair processing notice. We have been working closely with MedeAnalytics to develop these technical systems that provide the data we and the GPs need to do our work by extracting pseudonymised data directly from GP and other health care systems in a ways that do not involve MedeAnalytics or the CCG using information that can identify individual patients. Your GP does, however, have the ability to re-identify you where it is clinically appropriate to do so. 

Back to top

Sharing information with other organisations

We will only share anonymised statistical information (information that cannot be tracked back to an individual) with other NHS and partner organisations to help them improve local services, carry out research or audits, and improve public health. 
    
We would not ordinarily share information about you unless you have given your permission. There may however be circumstances where we are required by law to report certain information to the appropriate authorities. This may be to prevent fraud, protect children and vulnerable adults from harm, or where a formal court order has been served requiring us to do so.

In these cases, permission to share must be given by our either our Data Protection Officer or Caldicott Guardian, both of whom are senior persons in the CCG responsible for ensuring the protection of confidential patient and service user information. We are obliged to tell you that we have shared your information unless doing so would put you or others at risk of harm. 

Back to top

Pseudonymisation at Source

The CCG has been working closely with MedeAnalytics to develop systems that provide the data we and the GPs need to do our work, but in ways that do not involve MedeAnalytics or the CCG using information that can identify individual patients.

Pseudonymisation is a technical process that replaces identifiable information such as a NHS number, postcode and date of birth with a unique identifier, which obscures the ‘real world’ identity of the individual patient to those working with the data. It allows records for the same patient from different sources to be linked to create a complete longitudinal record of that patient’s condition, history and care.

Linkage of data from different health and social care data sources is undertaken enabling the processing of data and provision of appropriate analytical support for GPs and CCGs whilst protecting the privacy and confidentiality of the patient(s).

Technical and organisational measures are in place to ensure the security and protection of information.  Robust access controls are in place to ensure only GPs are able to re-identify information about their individual patients with their consent when it is necessary for the provision of their care.

MedeAnalytics Pseudonymisation at Source system has been confirmed by the Information Commissioners Office as sufficiently de-identifying patient identifiers before it leaves the originating source to make it impossible to re-identify the individual concerned, as well as receiving approval from the Confidentiality Advisor Group who provide guidance to the Secretary of State for Health.

Back to top

Confidentiality

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

The NHS Care Record Guarantee is a commitment that all NHS organisations (and other organisations which provide NHS-funded care) will use your records in ways that respect your rights and promote your health and wellbeing.

The NHS Constitution establishes the principles and values of the NHS in England. It provides a summary of your legal rights and contains pledges that the NHS is committed to achieve, including certain rights and pledges concerning your privacy and confidentiality.  

A Caldicott Guardian is a senior person responsible for protecting the confidentiality of patient information and enabling appropriate information-sharing. Each NHS organisation is required to have a Caldicott Guardian. 

The Caldicott Guardian for NHS East and North Hertfordshire CCG is Sheilagh Reavey, Director of Nursing and Quality. 

Our Data Protection Officer is Sarah Feal who may be contacted at: enhccg.information@nhs.net

Back to top

How you can access your information

Where information from which you can be identified is held, you have the right to ask to:

  • View this or request copies of the records by making a subject access request.
  • Request information is corrected.
  • Have the information updated where it is no longer accurate.
  • Ask us to stop processing information about you where we are not required to do so by law – although we will first need to explain how this may impact and affect the care you receive.

The CCG does not directly provide health care services and therefore does not hold personal healthcare records. If you wish to have sight of, or obtain copies of your of your own personal health care records you will need to apply to your GP Practice, the hospital or NHS Organisation which provided your health care.

Everybody has the right to see, or have a copy, of data we hold that can identify you. Under special circumstances, some information may be withheld.

A subject access request can be made in writing or verbally but we will need to verify who you are. For ease of use if you wish to have a copy of the information we hold about you and please complete this online form.

Further information about your rights and how to request your personal information is available on the Information Commissioner’s website 

Back to top

How long do you hold information

All records held by the CCG will be kept and destroyed in line with our Records Management Policy which is available here.

Back to top

Your individual rights

You have certain legal rights, including a right to have your information processed lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner, and you have a right to access any personal information we hold about you. You also have the right to privacy and to expect the NHS to keep your information confidential and secure. 

You also have a right to request that your confidential information is not used beyond your own care and treatment and to have your objections considered. These commitments are set out in the NHS Constitution and are managed centrally through the National Data Opt-Out programme, further information on this programme is available here:

To manage your choice online, you must be able to verify your identity. You can’t do this if you haven’t registered an email or mobile number with your NHS practice. If in doubt you may need to ask your GP Practice for help if you need to confirm your contact information is up to date. Alternatively, you can contact the NHS Digital Contact Centre to verify your identity and discuss your data sharing choices on 0300 303 5678.

Where information from which you can be identified is held, you have the right to ask to:

  • View this or request copies of the records by making a subject access request.
  • Have the information rectified where it is no longer accurate.
  • Ask us to stop processing information about you where we are not required to do so by law – although we will first need to explain how this may impact and affect the care you receive.
  • Ask us to erase personal data we hold about you where we are not required to do so by law – although we will first need to explain how this may impact and affect the care you receive.
  • Object to how we process your data.
  • Request to receive your data in a portable format.

A request to exercise any of your above rights can be made in writing or verbally.  Before we action your request we will need to verify who you are. For ease of use if you wish to have a copy of the information we hold about you and please complete this online form.

The CCG does not directly provide health care services and therefore does not hold personal healthcare records. If you wish to have sight of, or obtain copies of your of your own personal health care records you will need to apply to your GP Practice, the hospital or NHS organisation which provided your health care.

Everybody has the right to see, or have a copy, of data we hold that can identify you. Under special circumstances, some information may be withheld.

Further information about your rights and how to request your personal information is available on the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) website.  You also have the right to lodge a complaint if you are unhappy with how we manage your data, the ICO can also be contacted as follows:

Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

Tel: 0303 123 1113 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm)

Back to top

Contact us

If you have any questions or concerns or wish to complain about how we use your information, please contact our Data Protection Officer (DPO) at:

NHS East and North Hertfordshire CCG
Charter House
Parkway
Welwyn Garden City
Hertfordshire
AL8 6JL

Tel: 01707 685 000
Email: via online form

The DPO for NHS East and North Hertfordshire CCG is Sarah Feal, Company Secretary.

Back to top

Further information

Below are links to more information about your rights and the ways that the NHS uses personal information:

Back to top

Data Protection Statement

NHS East and North Hertfordshire CCG is a ‘Data Controller’ under the GDPR and Data Protection Act 2018. This means we are legally responsible for ensuring that all personal data that we hold and use is done so in a way that meets the data protection principles. We must also tell the Information Commissioner about all of our data processing activity. Our registration number is Z3531739 and our registered entry can be found on the Information Commissioner’s website.

All of our staff receive training to ensure they remain aware of their responsibilities. They are obliged in their employment contracts to uphold confidentiality, and may face disciplinary procedures if they do not do so. A limited number of authorised staff have access to personal data where it is appropriate to their role. 

We have entered into contracts with other organisations to provide Information Technology (IT) services for us. These organisations include:

This includes holding and processing data including patient information on our behalf. These services are subject to the same legal rules and conditions for keeping personal information confidential and secure. We are responsible for making sure that staff in those organisations are appropriately trained and that procedures are in place to keep information secure and protect privacy. These conditions are written into legally binding contracts, which we will enforce if our standards of information security are not met and confidentiality is breached.

We will not share, sell or distribute any of your personal information to any third party (other person or organisation) without your consent, unless required by law. Data collected will not be sent to countries where the laws do not protect your privacy to the same extent as the law in the UK, unless rigorous checks on the security and confidentiality of that data are carried out in line with the requirements of Data Protection legislation.

Back to top

Last modified: 

30 Sep 2019