What happens to information held about you?

Clinical information is held about you to ensure that clinicians and nurses have a complete and continuous record about your past, current and future treatment. 

As well as clinical information we also hold your name, address and date of birth to identify who you are. You are given a unique patient identifier: your hospital number. This is how we locate your records and is used, where possible, in communications about you. 

The computerised and paper records held about you are solely for the purpose of your health and well being. Your information is shared with other health professionals involved in your care, this can include but it not limited to GP practices, other hospitals, other hospital departments who are involved in providing you with your care and community services. 

Depending on your circumstances we may also need to share your information with external organisations to provide you with your treatment, drugs or equipment, this can include but is not limited to the voluntary sector, care homes, pharmaceutical companies, private health care providers and external companies who provide specialist equipment. 

Your information may also need to be shared with your Primary Care team in order for you to receive the appropriate care and treatment at home. 

In certain circumstances; we are required by law to report information to the appropriate authorities. This information is often provided after authority has been given by a qualified health professional. For example: 

• Notification of new births
• Where we encounter infectious diseases which may endanger the safety of others e.g. meningitis or measles
• Where a formal court order has been issued

What else can your information be used for?

Clinical audit  During or following treatment your information will be used for clinical audit to review current standards of care against best-practise care. Audit results are discussed by clinicians, and can be published and/or presented but always in an anonymised format so that you cannot be identified. 

National register  Your information is sometimes passed for entry to national registers e.g. the diabetic register, cancer register, transplant databases and other national and local databases held (sometimes on other sites) about various illnesses. This information is used for management purposes, and from a public health perspective, to identify what types of illnesses the general public suffer from. 

Improving the Health Service  Your information is used to help manage the hospital and the HSE. It is passed in an anonymised format, and in some cases, in an identifiable format for national and local returns. These returns are interrogated for waiting times, quality of information and care, and treatment information. 

Research  Your information could be used for research but only with your consent. Research seeks to investigate new treatments, interventions and management procedures so that patient care is continually improved. 

Teaching purposes  Your Information could be used to educate doctors, nurses, pathologists and other professionals involved in patient care. This would normally be anonymised information, if you would be identified your consent should be obtained. 

Social workers  In order to ensure you have an appropriate care package set up when you are discharged from hospital we may need to share your information with social services, you will be informed of this and your consent will be obtained. 

Solicitors/courts  Your consent or a court order would be obtained before information is shared. 

Complaints  Your consent would be obtained to share your information with HSE complaint committees. Your consent would be assumed if you contact the hospital or an appropriate external authority to investigate a complaint. 

Your rights You may register an objection to uses of your information, and the hospital will use all practical measures to follow your wishes, please contact the Data Protection Officer. (see Data Protection Act information).  You also have the right to see your health records (a fee is chargeable), and to make corrections if necessary.  The hospital is committed to complying with the Data Protection Act and to keeping your information confidential and secure, for further information please refer to the Information Charter

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