How do you keep my health information confidential?

Storing information

Your personal health information is kept in records written on paper, held on computer or both. We make sure that all of our records are stored securely at all times. The Royal Marsden has a duty to maintain full and accurate records of the care we provide.


We have a legal duty to keep information about you confidential, secure and accurate. We will share this information inside the NHS or with outside organisations, such as your insurer, only if it is necessary for your treatment and care. Anyone who receives information about you from us is also under a legal duty to keep it confidential.

We will not give information about you to organisations such as benefits agencies, employers or the media without your permission.

We will make sure, through contract terms and staff training, that everyone who works in or on our behalf understands their duty of confidentiality, what it means in practice and how it applies to all parts of their work.

We are committed to data protection and take great care to ensure that your data is looked after properly. Only staff who are involved in your care will be able to look at your record. If we find that someone has deliberately accessed records about you without permission or good reason, we will take action that may include disciplinary action.

How do you use information about me?

What information do you keep in my health care records?

During your visit or stay at The Royal Marsden we will ask you for information about yourself. We keep information about you so we can care for you safely and effectively. The information will be kept on a computer or paper record (or both).

The Royal Marsden has its own electronic patient information system which provides a greater degree of security than paper records. Only those involved directly in your care, which includes diagnosis and treatment, and the quality of healthcare provided are allowed access to your information.

How do you use my health information?

The people caring for you use your information to:

  • Provide treatment
  • Check the quality of your care
  • Help you make good decisions about your health
  • Investigate complaints.

They will share relevant information with other staff involved in your care or those checking its quality (unless you have asked that we limit how we share your record). This makes caring for you safer, easier and faster. We may need to share information about you with other people involved in your care, such as your GP, dentist, health visitor or community nurse.

We will not share health information that identifies you (particularly with other government agencies) for any reason other than providing your care, unless:

  • You have agreed
  • The information is necessary for your care and treatment
  • We are required to do so by law.

Sharing information with family and friends

It is important that we know with which family members or friends we may share information about you. When you first attend the hospital and register, we will ask you the name and contact details of your next of kin. This person does not need to be related to you but should be able to reflect your wishes at all times, even if you are unable to do so yourself.

Giving permission to share your information

You have a right to limit the health information about you we can use or share. If you want to do this, tell a member of staff providing your care. Please note that limiting the information we can share may make it more difficult for us to provide you with the best possible care.

Usually we will not share your personal health information with people such as a relative, carer or friend without your permission.

However, there are exceptions: sometimes, the law requires us to share your personal health information without your permission – for example, to investigate a serious crime or to protect a child.

Helping us improve our service

We may use information about you to help us provide a better service and improve the patient experience. When we use information about you, your name, address and other information that identifies you is removed whenever possible. If we do need to use information that identifies you, we will explain to you how and why your information will be used.


If you would like to know more about how we use your personal information, please call the Help Centre on 0800 783 7176.