Access to Information
The Southern Trust collects personal information from patients, clients and users in order to provide the most appropriate treatment and care. We also collect information about our services to ensure they are efficient and meeting the needs of our community.
Freedom of Information
Public authorities, including the Southern Trust, are also obliged to provide public access to official information. Requests for official information about the Trust are dealt with through the Freedom of Information office. For more information about FOI requests and how we process them, see below.
All public and private organisations including the Trust are legally obliged to protect any personal information they hold about patients, clients and users. To find out more about how we use personal health and social care information and how you can access your personal information, see below.
Everyone working for the Southern Health and Social Care Trust has a legal duty to keep information about you confidential, as does anyone who receives information about you from the Trust.
In order for Southern Health & Social Care Trust to help provide a service for you we need to know some information about you. Personal information that we process about you is governed by Data Protection Legislation. READ MORE
Why we need information about you
We ask you for information about yourself so that we can give you proper care and treatment. We keep this information in your notes because it may be needed if we see you again.
Other reasons for which your information may be needed include:
- Helping to review the care given to you to ensure it is of the highest standard. This is done through internal audits of our standards or external inspections of our services
- Training and educating staff
- Looking after the health and social welfare of the general public
- Investigating complaints or legal claims.
- Preparing statistics on the Trust’s activity and performance
To find out more about how we protect and use your information please see the Trust Privacy Notice.
Getting access to your personal information
If you want to see the information we hold about you or ask about how we use it, you can speak to the person in charge of your care or you can request a copy of your information.
To request a copy of your Health and Social Care records, please complete our “Request for Access to Patient / Client Records Form” which is available at this link: Request for access to records
(This Form can also be used in limited circumstances to request access to restricted information about a deceased person).
When sending us your completed application, please ensure you also provide any relevant additional documents as indicated on the Form (i.e. proof of identification, written consent, and/or other legal documentation). These documents are necessary to validate your request.
In most cases, access to personal information is provided free of charge; however the Trust reserves the right to charge a fee or to refuse to respond to a request that is manifestly unreasonable or excessive. For this reason please ensure your request for information is as concise and focused as possible.
Please remember to sign and date the Application Form and provide a return postal address.
Data Protection legislation allows 90 days for providing a response to complex requests. As requests for medical and social work records require review by a clinical/social care professional, the majority of requests will be deemed to be complex and will take up to 90 days to respond to. Requests that are not deemed to be complex will be responded to within 30 days.
Please contact us if you have any queries about completing the Application Form, using the contact details on the form.
Employee’s Guide to Handling Information
The Trust has published an Employee’s Guide to Handling Information to outline our responsibilities under the General Data Protection Regulation. The booklet includes suggestions on keeping personal information secure, appropriate accessing of records, emailing and posting information, and reporting incidents.
SHSCT Connect Staff App
SHSCT Connect is the app for staff of the Southern Health and Social Care Trust.
It is designed to help staff find their way around the organisation and stay in touch with news and receive information updates and alerts. All public and private organisations including the Trust are legally obliged to protect any personal information they hold about you. To find out more about how we use the Personal Data that we collect, receive, use and store about individuals in connection with the use of our mobile application CLICK HERE.
What does the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act do?
The Freedom of Information Act gives everyone the right to request information from public authorities, including the Southern Trust. Public authorities include hospitals, health centres, health boards and health agencies.
How do I get information about the Trust under the FOI Act?
We put a lot of information on this website in the FOI Publication Scheme section. If the information you want isn’t here, you can contact our FOI Office requesting the information. All requests for information need to be in writing (by letter or email) with a return address so we can respond. Please help by telling us as clearly as possible what information you want. We may contact you to check that we understand what you want, so do make sure you give your contact details.
For further information and guidance on Data Protection and Freedom of Information, please contact:
Head of Information Governance
Performance & Reform Directorate
10 Moyallen Road
Gilford BT63 5JY
Tel: 028 3756 1458
How long does it take to get information?
When we’ve received your written request for information, we have 20 working days to respond. We can extend that time in some cases. ‘Working days’ mean Monday-Friday, but not bank holidays. If the information is part of our Publication Scheme (see above) then you should get it within five working days.
Are there charges for the information?
You can download information from our website free of charge. We’ll also provide most other information free, but we may charge for photocopying and postage. If you request a large amount of information, we may have to charge you for the time taken in gathering it. We will always tell you how much you will have to pay so you can decide if you want to go ahead with your request. If the cost is more than £450, we don’t have to provide the information, even if you are willing to pay. This is covered in the FOI Appropriate Limit and Fees Regulations 2004.
What if the information I want is not available?
The FOI Act only requires us to provide information we already hold. Under the FOI Act, we must assist you with your request. We will contact you and tell you what information we do hold that may help to answer your query.
Can I have anything I ask for?
The FOI Act gives access to almost all information that a public body holds. We can withhold (keep back) some information under ‘exemptions’. These include information about national security and law enforcement, or personal information about others. For more information about obtaining your own personal information, see above.