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.
This notice describes how we will use your information to protect you and others during the Covid-19 outbreak. It supplements our main Privacy Notice which is available at www.medwaycommunityhealthcare.nhs.uk/privacy-notice.
The health and social care system is facing significant pressures due to the Covid-19 outbreak. Health and care information is essential to deliver care to individuals, to support health and social care services and to protect public health. Information is vital in researching, monitoring, tracking and managing the outbreak. In the current emergency it has become even more important to share health and care information across relevant organisations.
Existing law allows confidential patient information to be used and shared lawfully in a public health emergency is being used during this outbreak. Using this law, the Secretary of State has required NHS Digital; NHS England and Improvement; Arm’s Length Bodies (such as Public Health England); local authorities; health organisations and GPs to share confidential patient information to respond to the Covid-19 outbreak. Any information used or shared during the Covid-19 outbreak will be limited to the period of the outbreak unless there is another legal basis to use the data.
During this period of emergency, opt-outs will not generally apply to the data used to support the Covid-19 outbreak, due to the public interest in sharing information. This includes National Data Opt-outs. However, in relation to the Summary Care Record, existing choices will be respected. Where data is used and shared under these laws your right to have personal data erased will also not apply. It may also take us longer to respond to Subject Access requests, Freedom of Information requests and new opt-out requests whilst we focus our efforts on responding to the outbreak.
Sharing information with other healthcare providers
In order to look after your health and care needs we may share your confidential patient information including health and care records with clinical and non-clinical staff in other health and care providers, for example neighbouring GP practices, hospitals and NHS 111. We may also use the details we have to send public health messages to you, either by phone, text or email.
During this period of emergency, we may offer you a consultation via telephone or videoconferencing. Videoconferencing is particularly effective because it means we can still offer you a healthcare service without the risk of us infecting you, and you infecting us. By accepting the invitation and entering the consultation you are consenting to this. Your personal/confidential patient information will be safeguarded in the same way it would with any other consultation. The type of app or platform we use to do this may vary depending on which service you are seen by, and how urgent your need is. You will always be aware and in control; you can choose for us to not use a certain app if that is your wish; or you can choose not to have a video consultation. Your healthcare professional will explain the potential implications on your health at the time, if you choose not to.
Public health & disease surveillance
We are also required to share personal/confidential patient information with health and care organisations and other bodies engaged in disease surveillance for the purposes of protecting public health, providing healthcare services to the public and monitoring and managing the outbreak. NHS England and Improvement and NHSX have developed a single, secure store to gather data from across the health and care system to inform the Covid-19 response. All the data held in the platform is subject to strict controls that meet the requirements of data protection legislation.
Where you tell us you’re experiencing Covid-19 symptoms, we may need to collect specific health data about you. We will not collect more information than we require and we will ensure that any information collected is treated with the appropriate safeguards.
We may amend this privacy notice at any time so please review it frequently. The date at the top of this page will be amended each time this notice is updated.