Medway Community Healthcare (MCH) provides a wide range of high quality community health services for Medway residents; from health visitors and district nurses to speech and language therapists and out of hours urgent care.
To read how we may use your personal information during the COVID-19 pandemic, please read our supplementary privacy notice here >
Medway Community Healthcare aims to provide you with the highest quality care. To do this, we must keep records about you and the care we provide. We keep records securely on paper and computer systems in line with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Our staff are trained to handle your information correctly in order to protect your privacy.
We aim to maintain high standards; adopt best practice for record keeping; and regularly check and report on how we are doing. Your information is never collected for marketing purposes, and is not sold on to any third parties.
Sometimes your care may be provided by members of a care team, which might include people from other organisations such as social services, education, a third party working on our behalf or a third party providing us with IT services. When it could be best for your care, your information may be shared with other healthcare organisations. If you don’t agree for this to happen, we will discuss with you the possible effect this may have on your care and alternatives available to you.
If we need to use your personal information for any reason beyond your direct care, we will aim to discuss this with you. You have the right to ask us not to use your information in this way, but there may be times when we have to share your information without your permission because:
We have a legal duty to keep records about you confidential, accurate and secure at all times.
Personal data: information relating to natural persons who: can be identified or who are identifiable, directly from the information in question; or who can be indirectly identified from that information in combination with other information. Examples include, but are not limited to, name; address; date of birth; NHS number; occupation.
Special category data: is personal data which the GDPR says is more sensitive, and so needs more protection. Examples include, but are not limited to, race; ethnicity; political opinions, religious beliefs; genetic data; biometric data eg. fingerprints or facial recognition; health data; and sexual orientation.
The data controller responsible for keeping your information confidential is:
Martin Riley - Managing Director
Medway Community Healthcare
Gillingham Business Park
The data protection officer is responsible for ensuring MCH is compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation:
Medway Community Healthcare
Gillingham Business Park
The data protection officer is also the main contact should you have any concerns or queries, however in the first instance we would request you contact our Information Governance team on 01634 334640.
Confidentiality affects everyone: Medway Community Healthcare collects, stores and uses large amounts of personal data every day such as medical or personnel records, which may be paper-based or held on a computer.
We take our duty to protect your personal information and confidentiality very seriously and are committed to taking appropriate measures to ensure it is held securely and only accessed by those with a need to know.
At executive level, we have appointed:
A Senior Information Risk Owner (SIRO) who is accountable for the management of all our information systems and the data they hold. The SIRO also makes sure that any associated risks or incidents are documented and investigated appropriately.
A Caldicott Guardian who has particular responsibility for providing advice on protecting patient confidentiality and sharing patients’ information securely when appropriate.
A Data Protection Officer who is responsible for monitoring our compliance with the GDPR and other data protection laws. They are also a point of contact for any queries relating to your data.
Healthcare professionals caring for you keep records about your health and any treatment and care you receive from us. These records help to ensure that you receive the best possible care and may be written on paper or held on a computer. They may include:
We also collect and analyse details on any protected characteristics (for example your ethnicity) to ensure there are no barriers for anyone within our local community to access healthcare and improve services. Any issues are included within our annual equalities action plan.
It is essential that we have accurate and up to date information about you so that we can give you the best possible care. Please check that your personal details are correct whenever you visit us, and inform us of any changes, for example, to your contact details or GP practice as soon as possible. This minimises the risk of you not receiving important correspondence.
MCH will rely on one or more of the following lawful bases for processing your personal data, under article 6 of the GDPR:
MCH will also rely on one or more of the following lawful bases for processing special category data about you, under article 9 of the GDPR:
In general terms, your records are used to direct, manage and deliver your care so that:
Telephone calls to or from Medway Community Healthcare may be recorded for the following purposes:
SMS text messaging
We will also use your telephone number(s) to send your appointment details via SMS text message.
Most of our patients appreciate these reminders and we know that it reduces the number of missed appointments, but if you do not wish to receive text messages please let us know by speaking a member of staff or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Viewing a shared care record
Working with local healthcare providers, like Medway Hospital and GP practices, there may be times where we will view your local health record through a viewer to enable us to have real time clinical information about you, about your hospital visits, or about your last GP visit. Examples of this might be any allergies or sensitivities you have, or when you were last prescribed some medication from a GP or consultant.
All parties involved in this local health record project (called the Kent and Medway Care Record KMCR) have signed and must abide by a strict data sharing agreement which controls who might see your information and what happens to it.
For more information relating to the Kent and Medway Care Record (KMCR) please click here.
We share information about you with others directly involved in your care; and also share more limited information for indirect care purposes, both of which are described below:
Direct care purposes
You may be receiving care from other people as well as the NHS, for example Social Care Services. We may need to share some information about you with them so we can all work together for your benefit. We will only do this when there is a genuine need for it or we have your permission. Examples of who we may share your information with are:
We will always endeavour to share the minimum amount of personal information required, anonymising where necessary. However, there will be some instances where personal information will need to be shared with other organisations for the purposes of caring for our patients, or where there is a legal requirement for us to do so (for example a court order).
Indirect care purposes
We also use information we hold about you to:
Nationally there are strict controls on how your information is used for these purposes. These control whether your information has to be anonymised first and with whom we may share identifiable information. You can find out more about these purposes, which are also known as
secondary uses, on the NHS England and Health and Social Care Information Centre’s websites: http://www.england.nhs.uk/ and http://www.hscic.gov.uk/
The UK GDPR and Data Protection Act 2018 grants you rights to enable you to have a better understanding and more control over your personal information:
The right to be informed
MCH has a duty to let you know how we are using your information. You are informed of this via our privacy notice, our staff, website, posters and leaflets.
The right to access
When requested, MCH must provide you with a copy of your personal data, the purposes for processing your data, the categories of data being processed and who the data will be shared with. Find more information on how to request this, via the “How can you access your records” tab.
The right to rectification
You can request data found to be factually inaccurate or incorrect be corrected. You can exercise this right in the same way as you exercise your right to access (above).
The right to erasure
Whilst this right does not apply to health or care records, you can check that data we hold about you will not be kept for longer than necessary.
The right to restriction of some processing
You have the right to restrict the processing of your data if:
If you choose not to allow us to share your information with other health or social care professionals involved with your care, it may make the provision of treatment or care more difficult or unavailable. Please discuss any concerns with the clinician treating you so that you are aware of any potential impact. You can also change your mind at any time about a disclosure decision.
The right to data portability
This right does not apply to publicly funded patients (an NHS funded service). If you are seen as a privately funded patient, you have the right to ask us to copy or transfer your information that you have provided us from one IT system to another in a safe and secure way, without impacting the quality of information.
The right to object
You have the right to object to processing for direct marketing and for scientific/historical research/statistical purposes. You must be able to demonstrate grounds relating to your situation for the processing to stop, however if the processing is necessary performance of a task carried out for reasons of public interest, we will be unable to comply with your request.
Rights in relation to automated decision making and profiling
You have the right not to be subject to solely automated decisions, including profiling, which have a legal or similarly significant effect on you. This right does not explicitly apply to this organisation as no decision would be made on our employees without human intervention (a solely automated decision).
Guidance issued in relation to the GDPR has stated that consent should only be relied on as the legal basis for processing where it is freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous. We will not, generally, rely on consent as a legal basis for processing your personal data but in certain circumstances it may be deemed appropriate. Where you provide consent to the processing of your data, you will be asked at the time the data is processed and you should be aware that you will be able to withdraw your consent at any time.
The Department of Health requires that health care providers retain patient records for a specific period of time after the end of care. For adults this will normally be 8 years after the date we last treated you and for child health records until the child’s 25th birthday. There are exceptions to this, and we follow the NHSX Records Management Code of Practice 2021. Further information can be found at https://www.nhsx.nhs.uk/information-governance/guidance/records-management-code/
The General Data Protection Regulation gives you a right to access the information we hold about you (unless an exemption applies). Though we recommend that requests are made in writing, requests can be made in writing or verbally to the Information Governance Team at MCH House, or via email (email@example.com), with an indication of what information you are requesting to enable us to locate it in an efficient manner and be accompanied by evidence of your identity.
In most cases this service is free of charge and once we have confirmed your identity, we will aim to respond within one calendar month unless it is extremely complex or there are factors outside of our control. If we need longer we will let you know that this is the case as soon as we become aware. There is more information about this and an application form that you may wish to use on our website:
The National Data Opt-out has been introduced to give you (patients) a choice on how your confidential patient information is used for purposes beyond your individual care e.g. for research projects.
The information that the opt-out applies to is special category data as it includes information about your health care and/or treatment that has been collected as part of the care we provide for you.
You can set or change your national data opt-out choice using the online service (https://www.nhs.uk/your-nhs-data-matters/) or by phone by calling 0300 303 5678. When you set a national data opt-out, it is in held in a repository on the NHS Spine against your NHS number.
In accordance with our patient’s wishes and the National data opt-out policy, as an organisation providing health and care services located in England, we are required to apply National data opt-outs when applicable to a use or disclosure of confidential patient information for purposes other than the patient’s care or treatment.
Applying the opt-out to a data use/disclosure requires that we check, by using the NHS numbers of patients, whether a patient has registered an opt-out before the data is used/disclosed.
If you have given us explicit consent for us to process or share your information, for example if you have signed up to one of our research projects, then the opt-out will not apply. There may be occasions where other exemptions apply; we may respond to a clinical audit or provide a piece of information, because we are legally required to do so by an organisation such as NHS Digital; in these instances your opt-out will not apply.
For further information, or if you would like to register an opt-out, please visit https://www.nhs.uk/your-nhs-data-matters/
Medway Community Healthcare is registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) for the purpose of processing personal information.
You have the right to make direct complaints to the ICO; however we would request that in the first instance you talk to us or our Data Protection Officer, at firstname.lastname@example.org or ring 01634 334640.
Information Commissioner’s Office
Telephone: 0303 123 1113
Details of our registration with the ICO’s data protection register can be found here:
Data Protection Register
This privacy notice is reviewed yearly or sooner where new guidance or legislation is introduced. If we plan to use personal data for a new purpose we will update our privacy notice.
Last reviewed: June 2023