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Public health
Privacy notice

Last updated: 28 February 2020

The following privacy notice applies to Public Health services provided by Warwickshire County Council. It should be read in addition to the council’s overall Customer Privacy Notice.

Purpose for processing

Aggregated, anonymised or pseudonymised health data (including births and deaths data, health needs assessment data and Hospital Episode Statistics) is used by Warwickshire County Council’s Public Health Intelligence team in supporting the effective and efficient discharge of its statutory duty and wider responsibilities to improve and protect the health and wellbeing of the populations it serves, and reduce health inequalities.

All information accessed, processed and stored by Public Health Intelligence staff will be used to measure the health, mortality or care needs of the population; for planning, evaluating and monitoring health; protecting and improving public health.  It is used to carry out and support:

  • Analyse the health needs and outcomes of the local population
  • Health needs assessments
  • Health equity analysis
  • Commissioning and delivery of services to promote health and prevent ill health
  • Public health surveillance
  • Identifying inequalities in the way people access services
  • Joint strategic needs assessment
  • Health protection and other partnership activities

We are committed to using pseudonymised or anonymised information as much as is practical, and in many cases this will be the default position. Pseudonymisation is a procedure by which the most identifiable fields within a data record are replaced by one or more artificial identifiers, or pseudonyms. There can be a single pseudonym for a collection of replaced fields or a pseudonym per replaced field. The purpose is to render the data record less identifiable and therefore lower customer or patient objections to its use.

Anonymisation is the process of removing identifying particulars or details from (something, especially medical test results) for statistical or other purposes.

Personal information collected and lawful basis

Information is collected directly by your GP/Pharmacist/NHS provider and the Service will access anonymised data.

Personal information which includes some but is not limited to

  • Personal details – name, age, address, school and family details
  • Contact information – telephone numbers, email address
  • Personal Reference Numbers – NHS number, National Insurance
  • Employment details
  • Financial details – for free prescriptions
  • Lifestyle and social circumstances
  • Student and pupil records
  • Visual images, personal appearance and behaviour
  • IP addresses for online surveys

We may also process some special category (sensitive) information for specific health services such as Stop Smoking, Weight Loss or Mental Health, which may include but is not limited to:

  • Physical or mental health details
  • Racial or ethnic origin
  • Pregnancy

The legal bases for processing this personal information are:

  • Compliance with a legal obligation
  • Tasks carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority>
  • Explicit consent*

*Some services may use videos/photographs with the explicit consent of the subject for analysis of the service. Some of the services can only be accessed by signing up via your GP or Pharmacist.

The Public Health Intelligence team will have access to the following data:

  • Civil Registration Data – Includes record level mortality data (formerly known as the Primary Care Mortality Database) as provided at the time of registration of the death along with additional GP details, geographical indexing and coroner details where applicable. Also included in Civil Registration Data are Births and Vital Statistics Tables – Births files include date of birth, sex, birth weight, address, postcode, place of birth, stillbirth indicators and age of mother. Deaths data includes: deaths broken down by age, sex, area and cause of death sourced from the deaths register.
  • Hospital Episode Data (HES) – is a data warehouse containing pseudonymised details of all admissions, outpatient appointments and Accident and Emergency attendances at NHS hospitals in England. This data is collected during a patient’s time in hospital and is submitted to allow hospitals to be paid for the care they deliver. HES data is designed to enable secondary use, that is use for non-clinical purposes, of this administrative data.
  • National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) – was set up in line with the government strategy to annually measure the height and weight of children in Reception class (aged 4 to 5) and Year 6 (aged 10 to 11), to assess overweight and obesity levels in children within primary schools. NCMP data can be used to support public health initiatives and inform the planning and delivery of services for children. Individual children’s results are not shared with school staff or other pupils, and suppression and disclosure controls are implemented to ensure that individual children cannot be identified.
  • Child Health Information System – includes pseudonymised records of “In and Out” movements, Ages and Stages Questionnaires (ASQ), breastfeeding and immunisation records.
  • HAPI data – The School Health and Wellbeing Service undertakes health needs assessments of children and young people at various ages across the school-age population. Anonymous information is used in order to inform the planning and delivery of services.
  • NHS Health Check is made up of three key components: risk assessment, risk awareness and risk management. During the risk assessment standardised tests are used to measure key risk factors and establish the individual’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease including:
    • Smoking status
    • Family history of coronary heart disease
    • Body Mass Index (BMI)
    • Cholesterol level
    • Blood Pressure including a pulse rhythm check
    • Diabetes risk assessment
    • HbA1c or fasting glucose (for those at risk following diabetes filter)
    • Physical activity using GPPAQ
    • Alcohol use using AUDIT score
    • Dementia awareness and signposting (for 65 to 74 years old).
Who we may share your information with

Occasionally, we may need to share the personal information you have given to us or we’ve collected about you with partner organisations. These include but are not limited to:

  • Government departments, such as the Department of Education
  • Public Health England
  • Health/GPs/NHS
  • Compass for School Health and Wellbeing Service and South Warwickshire Foundation Trust for Health Visiting
  • Child Health Information System (CHIS) in order to check immunisation status.

We do have specific data sharing agreements in place with local agencies and sometimes the law requires that we may have to pass your details on to a third-party, for example, to prevent crime.

Information will only ever be shared when it is strictly necessary to help us provide effective services and you may have the right to refuse. We will not pass it onto any other parties unless required to do so by law or in all reasonable circumstances the disclosure is fair and warranted for the purposes of processing or subject to a legal data protection exemption.

How long we will hold your information

Retention for records in Public Health is 6 years. Providers of services will have their own retention schedule which varies between 1-6 years.

Please note: all stated retention periods will be subject to any legal holds imposed under the Inquiries Act 2005 that may concern the information and override standard retention.

Your information rights

You are entitled to a copy of, or a description of, the personal data we hold that relates to you, subject to lawful restrictions. How to request this using the online secure form.

You may be entitled to rectification, restriction, objection, and erasure of your personal information depending on the service and legal basis. Emailed requests should be made direct to [email protected].

See our overall privacy notice for further contact details and if you have a complaint about your information rights.

NHS and care services 

To find out more about the NHS’ wider use of confidential personal information and to register your choice to opt out if you do not want your data to be used in this way, visit the NHS website.

If you do choose to opt out, you can still consent to your data being used for specific purposes. 

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