How we use and protect your personal information for patients

Bolton NHS Foundation Trust provides patient care in the community at health centres and clinics as well as services such as district and school nursing. We also provide services at the Royal Bolton Hospital.

Information about you, your medical treatment and family background may be held on both paper and computers, as part of providing you with health services.

This information is vital to the proper operation of the Trust and is needed to give you and others the best possible healthcare.

We will also ensure that your full information is available if you see another doctor, or are referred to a specialist or another part of the NHS.

Any correspondence you send to us may also form part of your health record.


Why does the NHS keep information about you?

The legal basis for the processing of data for these purposes is that the NHS is an official authority with a public duty to care for its patients, as guided by the Department of Health.

The organisation responsible for processing your data is Bolton NHS Foundation Trust.

The teams of hospital and community professionals caring for you need to keep records about your health and any treatment and care you have received.

Your health records help to ensure you receive the best possible care.


What personal information about you is collected?

Your doctor, nurse and the team of health & care professionals caring for you keep records about your treatment and care both on paper and electronically.

These include, but not limited to:

  • Personal details such as name, address, date of birth, ethnicity and religion, NHS number and next of kin.
  • Contact we have with you e.g. hospital admissions, outpatients/clinic appointments and home visits.
  • Notes and reports by health and care professionals about your health, GP details etc.
  • Details and records about your treatment and care.
  • Results of x-rays, laboratory tests, and any other tests.
  • Relevant information about people that care for you and know you well.
  • Basic details about associated people e.g. children, partners, carers, relatives etc.

This information may be given to us directly by you. We may also hold information relating to your direct care which has been provided to us by third parties, such as referral information from your GP, Optician or from other bodies such as schools.


What are we going to do with your information?

Your health records are used to make sure that the teams of health and social care professionals caring for you have accurate and up to date information about your medical condition and circumstances.

Also we will manage your records with clear retention periods under the NHS Records Management Code of Practice for Health and Social Care.

A copy of the code is available here.

Information collected about you to deliver your health care is also used to assist with:

  • Making sure your care is of a high standard.
  • Using statistical information to look after the health and wellbeing of the general public and planning services to meet the needs of the population.
  • Assessing your condition against a set of risk criteria to ensure you are receiving the best possible care.
  • Preparing statistics on our performance for the Department of Health and other regulatory bodies.
  • Helping train staff, support research and conduct surveys to maintain the quality of our services.
  • Supporting the funding of your care.
  • Reporting and investigation of complaints, claims and untoward incidents.
  • Reporting events to the appropriate authorities when we are required to do so by law


How we will keep your information secure and confidential?

All members of staff working in the NHS and other healthcare organisations have a legal duty to keep information about you strictly confidential (unless in extreme circumstances where your safety or that of others is compromised).

The NHS has a code of confidentiality which all staff must adhere to.

Also we keep all paper and electronic records securely to prevent unauthorised access in accordance with the Data Protection Act 2018 and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which came into force on 25th May 2018.


The law and your personal information

There are many government policies and Acts of Parliament which require the Trust to report certain personal information to other organisations.

The Trust will not disclose personal information about you without your permission, unless required by law to do so, such as:

  • When a baby is born.
  • When a death occurs.
  • When a court order has been issued.
  • At the request of the Coroner.
  • When an infectious disease is diagnosed.


We will also share relevant information about you to:

  • Assess and plan the type of care or treatment you need.
  • Provide up to date information to other health and social care organisations involved in your care.
  • Keep your GP fully informed.
  • Share with external organisations for the purposes of continuity of your care and wellbeing when appropriate.
  • Reviewing and auditing the quality of the services we provide.

You have rights under the Data Protection Laws:

Data Protection laws give individuals rights in respect of the personal information that we hold about you.  These are:

  1. To be informed why, where and how we use your information.
  2. To ask for access to your information.
  3. To ask for your information to be corrected if it is inaccurate or incomplete.
  4. To ask for your information to be deleted or removed where there is no need for us to continue processing it. This is not applicable to the Trust. We have a statutory duty to keep your records in order to treat you . The retention periods for your records  are set out in the NHS Code of Records Management.
  5. To ask us to restrict the use of your information. This would only apply when there are questions arising from the accuracy of your data and we need time to resolve them.
  6. To ask us to copy or transfer your information from one IT system to another in a safe and secure way, without impacting the quality of the information. This is not applicable to the Trust
  7. To object to how your information is used.
  8. To challenge any decisions made solely without human intervention (automated decision making) This is not applicable to the Trust as the Trust does not process information in this way.

Should you have any further queries on the uses of your information, please contact:

What are your rights?

If at any point you believe the information we process on you is incorrect, you can request to see this information and have it corrected.

If you wish to raise a complaint on how we have handled your personal data, you can contact our Data Protection Officer who will investigate the matter.


Data Protection Officer

Bolton NHS Foundation Trust,

Minerva Road, Farnworth, Bolton, BL4 0JR

Tel: 01204 390 861,


Right to lodge a complaint with a Supervisory Authority

If you are not satisfied with our response or believe we are processing your personal data not in accordance with the law you can complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

The ICO can be contacted at The Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire. SK9 5AF.


 Patient satisfaction

We may use your details to contact you with regards to patient satisfaction surveys relating to services you have used within our Trust. This is to improve the way we deliver healthcare to you and other patients.


 Your right to withdraw consent for us to share your personal information

At any time you have the right to refuse/withdraw consent to information sharing. The possible consequences will be fully explained to you and could include delays in receiving care.

2151 How we use and protect your information leaflet [175 kb] PDF


Bolton Care Record

The Bolton Care Record is a new confidential computer record that will provide health and social care professionals directly involved with your care access to the most up-to-date information about you. It does this by securely sharing appropriate information from your medical and care records between health and social care services in Bolton.

Read more about this in the leaflet below:

What is the Bolton Care Record? leaflet [438kb] PDF