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Patient confidentiality

All NHS bodies and those carrying out functions on behalf of the NHS have a common law duty of confidence to patients and a duty to maintain professional ethical standards of confidentiality.

Everyone working for or with the NHS who records, handles, stores, or otherwise comes across patient information has a personal common law duty of confidence to patients and to his or her employer. The duty of confidentiality continues even after the death of the patient or after an employee or contractor has left the NHS.

View our data protection web page for more information

To provide our patients with the best care possible sometimes means that it is necessary to share personal information with other trust departments, GP practices or organisations directly concerned with their treatment. Whenever information is shared, staff at East Cheshire NHS Trust are committed to adherence to strict codes of confidentiality. 

The clinical information held about you ensures that clinicians have a complete and continuous record about your treatment so that they can make an informed decision about your future care.

To identify you, we also hold personal information about you including your name, address and date of birth. You have unique patient identifiers which are your hospital and NHS numbers. We use these numbers to locate your records and, where possible, in communications about you.

The computerised and paper records held about you are solely for the purpose of your health and well-being.

Your information is shared with other health professionals involved in your care, and in certain circumstances when we are required by law to report information to the appropriate authorities, and some examples of this are as follows.

  • Notification of new births
  • Where we encounter infectious diseases which may endanger the safety of others eg. meningitis or measles
  • Where a formal Court order has been issued

The information is only provided after formal authority has been given by a qualified health professional.

Clinical Audit

During or following treatment, your information could be used for clinical audit to review current standards of care against best practise. Audit results are discussed by clinicians, and can be published and/or presented, but always in an anonymised format so that you cannot be identified.


It could be used for research, but only with your consent. Research seeks to investigate new treatments, interventions and management procedures so that patient care is continually improved. You may be contacted to take part in surveys or consultations about our services.

National registers

It is sometimes passed for entry to national registers eg diabetes or cancer register, transplant databases or other national and local databases held (sometimes on other sites) about various illnesses. This information is used to improve the management of the conditions involved and inform public health in identifying the types of illnesses affecting the population.

Improving the NHS

It is used to help the management of the NHS when anonymised information is submitted ny way of local and national returns to assess waiting times, the quality of information about care and treatment information.

Teaching purposes

Anonymised case studies could be used to educate doctors, nurses, pathologists and other professionals involved in patient care.

General enquiries relating to information governance should be directed to: 

The Information Governance Department
Macclesfield District General Hospital
2nd Floor
New Alderley House
Victoria Road
SK10 3BL

Email Address:
Telephone Number: 01625 663608

The trust has appointed a Caldicott Guardian to be an advocate for our patients in all matters relating to confidentiality and to make sure we are doing as much as we can to protect their information. Contact details are as follows:

Caldicott Guardian 
Macclesfield District General Hospital,
Top Floor, New Alderley Building,
Victoria Road, 
Cheshire SK10 3BL

Email Address: