Data Protection

The Data Access and Disclosure Office deal with the disclosure of information outside the Trust. As an organisation, we are statutorily responsible for responding to requests for information made under the Data Protection Act 2018, Access to Health Records Act 1990, and the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

See below all the information needed before making a request for information.

Each of the above Acts enables the public to access information that is within that remit that Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust holds. They also provide guidance on how organisations must manage these requests.

Please refer to our information leaflet ‘How to access information – what you need to know’ to find out more.

Due to the introduction of the EU Data Protection Act 2018, as an organisation, we are statutorily responsible for responding to Data Protection Act 2018 requests within one calendar month or 30 days and we must respond to Freedom of Information Act requests within 20 working days. There is no time limit under the Access to Health Records Act; however we aim to ensure compliance within 30 days, depending on the availability of the records requested.

For your information: In line with the requirements of the Data Protection Act 2018 there is no charge for obtaining copies of records unless your request is deemed unfounded or excessive.

The Data Protection Act 2018 states that every living person, or their authorised representative acting on behalf of the individual, has the right to apply for access to records relating to them which are held by organisations. In order to ensure that we provide information appropriately and in line with the Act, we will ask for specific information that is required to progress the request.

A request can be made in writing (either through a letter or email), or through our Subject Access Request form. Depending on the information required and who is requesting the information, further verification may be required so that all Data Protection principles are being met.

All requests for person confidential information held by the Trust must be made via the Data Access & Disclosure Office. This includes request made by current or previous staff for access to information that is held by the Trust. Our contact information is:

Data Access & Disclosure Office
Kitson Hall
Torbay Hospital
Lowes Bridge
Torquay TQ2 7AA

Tel: 01803 654868 Email: Data Access & Disclosure Office

For your information: Under the Data Protection Act 2018, the Trust must ensure that each disclosure is lawful and in line with the principles of the Act. As such, some information may be withheld or redacted. This could be for the following reasons:

  • Where it has been judged that supplying the information is likely to cause serious harm to the physical or mental health or condition of you, or any other person; or
  • Where providing access would disclose information relating to or provided by a third party who had not consented to the disclosure.

The Common Law Duty of Confidentiality extends to an individual after death. Therefore access to the records of the deceased is strictly controlled. A Subject Access Request form must be completed and should include evidence of the right of the requestor to view the deceased’s records.

You can download the Subject Access Request form here.

For your information: Generally, rights of access are restricted to the personal representative of the deceased, the Executor or Administrator of the Estate or any person who may have a claim arising from the individual’s death.

On our Trust website www.torbayandsouthdevon.nhs.uk you will find information relating to locations of services and departments, documentation and contact details. We also have a publication scheme and will regularly publish details of Board Meetings, our Annual Reports and future plans.

If you cannot find the information you require on our website, you can make a Freedom of Information request, in writing to the Data Access & Disclosure Office. The request can either be made using the form on our web site or a letter but it must be in writing. Anyone can make a request for information and you are not required to tell us the purpose of the request.

In order for us to process the request, we will need your name, either a postal address or email address so that we can send our response and, if possible, a contact number in case there are any queries with the request. There is no fee for these requests and we will respond to your request within 20 working days.

For your information: There are some instances where we will not be able to release the information requested. Should this be the case, we will explain why using the specific exemptions that are noted within the Act.

You may also make a request for information under the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) 2003. Requests under EIR relate to information about land use, waste, energy, food contamination, pest control, pollution, refuse, waste management, and dog patrol. We should respond within 20 working days, however for complex requests this may be extended to 40 working days.

For your information: As with the Freedom of Information requests, EIR requests can be made in writing or using our online form.

  • Data Protection Act 2018: As indicated above, information can be withheld for two specific reasons under the Data Protection Act 2018; where it may cause harm or where it relates to a third party.
  • Access to Health Records Act: In terms of information requested under the Access to Health Records Act, disclosures will be reviewed on an individual basis, to ensure that the rights of the deceased in relation to confidentiality are adhered to. This may mean that not all information held by the Trust will be disclosed, especially where there is information held about the wishes of the patient in relation to that information.
  • Freedom of Information Act: There are a number of circumstances when the organisation is not required to disclose information under this Act. We will inform you in our response if any of the appropriate exemptions apply.

For your information: Full details of the reasons for non-disclosure can be found on the Information Commissioner’s Office website.

If you are not satisfied with the Trust’s response to an application for information, you can appeal the decision. A review of the request and the information released will be undertaken by a senior member of staff. The review will be completed within 28 days and the outcome will be shared with you in writing.

Data Access & Disclosure Office
Kitson Hall
Torbay Hospital
Lowes Bridge
Torquay TQ2 7AA

Tel: 01803 654868 Email: Data Access & Disclosure Office

For your information: If you are then not satisfied with outcome of the appeal you can contact the Information Commissioner’s Office who will review the request on your behalf.

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