1. About NHS Fife
NHS Fife is a public organisation created in Scotland under section 1 of the National Health Service (Scotland) Act 1978 (the 1978 Act). It is one of the organisations which form part of NHS Scotland (NHSS).
2. About the personal information we use
We use personal information on different groups of individuals including:
- Complainants, enquirers
- Survey respondents
- Professional experts and consultants
- Individuals captured by CCTV
The personal information we use includes information that identifies you like your name, address, date of birth and postcode.
We also use more sensitive types of personal information, including information about racial or ethnic origin; political opinions; religious or philosophical beliefs; trade union membership; genetic data, health; sex life or sexual orientation.
The information we use can relate to personal and family details; education, training and employment details; financial details; lifestyle and social circumstances; goods and services; visual images; details held in the patient record; responses to surveys.
3. Our purposes for using personal information
Under the 1978 Act NHS Fife has the statutory responsibility to provide or arrange for the provision of a range of healthcare, health improvement and health protection services. We are given these tasks so that we can help to promote the improvement of the physical and mental health of the people of NHS Fife and assist in operating a comprehensive and integrated national health service in Scotland.
We use personal information to enable us to provide healthcare services for patients, data matching under the national fraud initiative; research; supporting and managing our employees; maintaining our accounts and records and the use of CCTV systems for crime prevention.
4. Our legal basis for using personal information
NHS Fife, as data controller, is required to have a legal basis when using personal information. NHS Fife considers that performance of our tasks and functions are in the public interest. When using personal information our legal basis is usually that its use is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest, or in the exercise of official authority vested in us. In some situations, we may rely on a different legal basis; for example, when we are using personal information to pay a supplier, our legal basis is that its use is necessary for the purposes of our legitimate interests as a buyer of goods and services. Another example would be for compliance with a legal obligation to which NHS Fife is subject to, for example under the Public Health etc (Scotland) Act 2008 we are required to notify Health Protection Scotland, part of Public Health Scotland, when someone contracts a specific disease.
When we are using more sensitive types of personal information, including health information, our legal basis is usually that the use is necessary:
- for the provision of health or social care or treatment or the management of health or social care systems and services; or
- for reasons of public interest in the area of public health; or
- for reasons of substantial public interest for aims that are proportionate and respect people’s rights, for example research; or
- in order to protect the vital interests of an individual; or
- for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims or in the case of a court order.
On rare occasions we may rely on your explicit consent as our legal basis for using your personal information. When we do this, we will explain what it means, and the rights that are available to you. You should be aware that we will continue to ask for your consent for other things like taking part in a drug trial, or when you are having an operation.
5. Who provides the personal information?
When you do not provide information directly to us, we receive it from other individuals and organisations involved in the delivery of health and care services in Scotland. These include other NHS Boards and primary care contractors such as GPs, dentists, pharmacists and opticians and other public bodies e.g. Local Authorities and suppliers of goods and services.
6. Sharing personal information with others
Depending on the situation, where necessary we will share appropriate, relevant and proportionate personal information in compliance with the law, with the following:
- Our patients and their chosen representatives or carers
- Current, past and potential employers
- Healthcare social and welfare organisations
- Suppliers, service providers, legal representatives
- Auditors and audit bodies
- Educators and examining bodies
- Research organisations
- People making an enquiry or complaint
- Financial organisations
- Professional bodies
- Trade Unions
- Business associates
- Police forces.
- Security organisations.
- Central and local government.
- Voluntary and charitable organisations.
7. Transferring personal information abroad
It is sometimes necessary to transfer personal health information overseas. For example, if you require urgent medical treatment abroad. When this is needed information may be transferred to countries or territories around the world. Any transfers made will be in full compliance with the NHS Scotland Information Security Policy Framework.
8. Retention periods of the information we hold
Within NHS Fife we keep personal information as set out in the Scottish Government Records Management: Health & Social Care Code of Practice (Scotland) 2020. This Code of Practice sets out minimum retention periods for information, including personal information, held in different types of records including personal health records and administrative records. As directed by the Scottish Government in the Records Management Code of Practice, we maintain a retention schedule NHS Fife -Management, Retention, Storage and Destruction of all Business and Administrative Information and Records and NHS Fife - Health Records Retention and Destruction detailing the minimum retention period for the information and procedures for the safe disposal of personal information.
9. How we protect personal information
We take care to ensure your personal information is only accessible to authorised people. Our staff have a legal and contractual duty to keep personal health information secure, and confidential. The following security measures are in place to protect personal information:
- All staff undertake mandatory training in Data Protection and IT Security
- Compliance with the NHS Scotland Information Security Policy Framework
- Organisational policy and procedures on the safe handling of personal information
- Access controls and audits of electronic systems
10. Your rights
This section contains a description of your data protection rights within NHS Fife.
The right to be informed
NHS Fife must explain how we use your personal information. We use a number of ways to communicate how personal information is used, including:
- This Data Protection Notice
- Information leaflets
- Discussions with staff providing your care
The right of access
You have the right to access your own personal information.
This right includes making you aware of what information we hold along with the opportunity to satisfy you that we are using your information fairly and legally.
You have the right to obtain:
- Confirmation that your personal information is being held or used by us
- Access to your personal information
- Additional information about how we use your personal information
Although we must provide this information free of charge, if your request is considered unfounded or excessive, or if you request the same information more than once, we may charge a reasonable fee.
If you would like to access your personal information, you can do this by contacting:
The Information Governance and Security Dept - DSARSPOC
Email to -
Or Telephone –
Information Governance and Security Department – 01592 64335 Ext. 35194
Once we have details of your request and you have provided us with enough information for us to locate your personal information, we will respond to your request without delay, within one month (30 days). However, if your request is complex, we may take longer, by up to two months, to respond. If this is the case, we will tell you and explain the reason for the delay.
The right to rectification
If the personal information we hold about you is inaccurate or incomplete, you have the right to have this corrected.
If it is agreed that your personal information is inaccurate or incomplete, we will aim to amend your records accordingly, normally within one month, or within two months where the request is complex. However, we will contact you as quickly as possible to explain this further if the need to extend our timescales applies to your request. Unless there is a risk to patient safety, we can restrict access to your records to ensure that the inaccurate or incomplete information is not used until amended.
If for any reason we have shared your information with anyone else, perhaps during a referral to another service for example, we will notify them of the changes required so that we can ensure their records are accurate.
If on consideration of your request NHS Fife does not consider the personal information to be inaccurate then we will add a comment to your record stating your concerns about the information. If this is the case, we will contact you within one month to explain our reasons for this.
If you are unhappy about how NHS Fife has responded to your request for rectification we will provide you with information on how you can complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office, or how to take legal action.
The right to object
When NHS Fife is processing your personal information for the purpose of the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority you have the right to object to the processing and also seek that further processing of your personal information is restricted. Provided NHS Fife can demonstrate compelling legitimate grounds for processing your personal information, for instance; patient safety or for evidence to support legal claims, your right will not be upheld.
There are other rights under current Data Protection Law however these rights only apply in certain circumstances. If you wish further information on these rights, these can be found on the Information Commissioner’s Office site
The right to complain
NHS Fife employ a Data Protection Officer to check that we handle personal information in a way that meets data protection law. If you are unhappy with the way in which we use your personal information, please email our Data Protection Officer using the contact details below.
Or write to:
The Data Protection Officer
You also have the right to complain about how we use your personal information to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). Details about this are on their website at www.ico.org.uk.
10. Translation Service/Accessibility
NHS Fife provides accessible communication in a variety of formats including for speakers of community languages or for those who require easy read versions.
Formats are also provided for those who speak BSL, use Audio formats or read Braille.
A text messaging service is available for people who are unable to contact NHS Fife by phone due to a verbal or hearing impairment.
To find out more about accessible formats and the text messaging service contact:
email@example.com or phone 01592 729130 (external) or 29130 (internal).