How data is kept safe

Putting security and confidentiality first.

The information we hold is crucial to improving the way cancer patients are treated and services are provided, but we know it’s also highly sensitive and very personal. For this reason security and patient confidentiality are at the heart of everything we do.

We have a special legal permission to collect patient information without needing a patient’s consent. This is granted to us under Section 251 of the National Health Service Act 2006 and was introduced to allow the national public health organisation to set aside the common law duty of patient confidentiality to protecting the public’s health and monitor risks such as those causing cancer.

If you want to know what information we hold about you, you can apply using what’s known as a Subject Access Request.  We will send you details of what we have. But so we can make sure it really is you and not someone trying to get your information, we send it to you through your GP surgery or the clinician that’s treating. They don’t need to see the information, but they will check that it really is being given to you.

We know that a very few people don’t want their information stored at all. If you’re thinking about opting out you can find out more here.

There are lots of different types of health data and it’s a complex subject with strict rules about what information can be used, by whom, when, in what form and for what reason. That’s why Public Health England, along with the bodies that represent all the leading medical charities and research bodies have set up Understanding Patient Data.  Its mission is to demystify patient data and explain the safeguards that are in place to protect patient confidentiality.