Covid-19 and your information – Updated on 9th April 2020
Supplementary privacy note on Covid-19 for Patients
This notice describes how we may use your information to protect you and others during the Covid-19 outbreak. It supplements our main Privacy Notice which is available at the bottom of each page on our website.
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 will also be 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 which allows confidential patient information to be used and shared appropriately and 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; Arms 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. Further information is available on gov.uk here and some FAQs on this law are available here.
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.
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.
Connecting your Care – In order to support the London-wide response to the current Covid19 pandemic, SWL are fast-tracking a series of data sharing initiatives via the OneLondon (Cerner) hub, to ensure that front-line clinicians have access to the broadest patient dataset during this emergency. The changes that will be implemented in the immediate/short term are described below.
• The project to deliver pan-London data sharing between acute trusts went live on 1st April, in time to support the first admissions to the new Nightingale Hospital. This means that all users in SWL can now see patient information from patient encounters at all of the OneLondon-supported acute trusts (Kingston, Croydon and St. George’s
Hospitals in SWL, Lewisham and Greenwich, Bart’s, the Royal Free and Homerton). Bart’s hospital are managing patient records for the new Nightingale Hospital. There is no plan to share social care, mental health and community data to users outside of SWL at this time.
• As part of the same initiative, pan-London sharing of GP records is also being fasttracked. Testing is ongoing, and sharing of primary care data will be live potentially from Wednesday 15th April. This means that clinicians across London will be able to see acute and primary care data for any patient from the aligned OneLondon provider localities.
During this period of emergency we may offer you a consultation via telephone or videoconferencing. 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.
We will also be 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. Further information about how health and care data is being used and shared by other NHS and social care organisations in a variety of ways to support the Covid-19 response is here. 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. This includes data already collected by NHS England, NHS Improvement, Public Health England and NHS Digital. New data will include 999 call data, data about hospital occupancy and A&E capacity
data as well as data provided by patients themselves. All the data held in the platform is subject to strict controls that meet the requirements of data protection legislation.
In such circumstances where you tell us you’re experiencing Covid-19 symptoms we may need to collect specific health data about you. Where we need to do so, 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.